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.' " J- ^ ~ 

•7'. 



HISTORIC STORMS 



OP 



NEW ENGLAND. 



ITS GALES, HURRICANES, TORNADOES, SHOWERS WITH THUNDER AND 

LIGHTNING, GREAT SNOW STORMS, RAINS, FRESHETS, FLOODS, 

DROUGHTS, COLD WINTERS, HOT SUMMERS, AVALANCHES, 

EARTHQUAKES, DARK DAYS, COMETS, AURORA- 

BOREAUR, PHENOMENA IN THE HEAVENS, 

WRECKS ALONG THE COAST, 



WITH INCIDENTS AND ANECDOTES, AMUSING AND PATHETIC. 



BY 



SIDNEY PERLEY, 



Author of " History of Boxford, Mass.," "Goodridge Memorial," 
" Poets of Essex County, Mass./' etc. 




SAI/EM, MASSACHUSETl^: ' -^ 
The Salem Press Publishing anii I'j^iNjlNp Co./: 

1891. 






\'\ % \\f». •'' 



t ■ r • ■ I ■ • \ I 

< I 1 ' f. i ^ . ■ . 



403175 



190/ j 



Copyright, 1891. 
By Sidney Perley. 






«» / • 



• • 



• • • .. . 









1^1 



CONTENTS 






Chaptbr. Pagb. 

I. The Great Storm of August, 1635, ... 3 

II. The Earthquake of 1638, .... 11 

III. The Earthquake of 1663, . . . . 14 

IV. The Comet of 1664, 16 

V. Strange Appearance in the Heavens in 1667, . 18 

VI. The Storm of 1676, and Shipwreck of Ephraim 

Howe, 20 

VII. The Comet of 1680, 25 

VIII. Strange Appearance in the Heavens in 1682, . 27 

IX. The Dark Day of 1 716, .... 29 

X. The Winter of 1716-17, .... 31 

XI. Wreck of the Pirate Ship Whidah, . . 37 

XII. The Aurora Borealis in 1719, .... 39 

XIII. The Storm of February 24, 1722-23, . . 41 

XIV. Earthquake of 1727, 43 

XV. The Winter of 1740-41, . . . . 49 

XVI. The Earthquake of 1 744, . . . . 52 

XVII. The Winter of 1747-48, .... 54 

XVIII. The Hurricane at Pepperell, Mass., 1748, . 56 

(ili) 



IV CONTENTS. 

Chaftbr. Pagb. 

XIX. The Drought of 1 749, .... 58 

XX. The Great Earthquake of 1755, ... 60 

XXI. The Hurricane at Leicester, Mass., in 1759, 64 

XXII. The Drought of 1762, 66 

XXIII. Showers with Thunder and Lightning in 1 768, 68 

XXIV. The Gale of December 4, 1768, ... 72 

*<KXV. The Summer of 1 769, 74 

.."Ml 

XJfVI. The Great Freshet of 1770, .... 78 

X3|VII. The Summer of 1770, .... 83 

■ XXVIIL The Storm of October 20, 1770, . . . S6 

XXIX. The Summer of 1771, .... 92 

XXX. The Hurricane on Merrimac river in 1773, . 98 

XXXI. The Storm of November, 1774, . . . 103 
XXXIL The Dark Day of 1 780, . . . . 105 

XXXIII. The Hurricane of June 23, 1782, . . 115 

XXXIV. The Great Freshet of October, 1 785, . . 117 
XXXV. The Tornado of 1 786, . . . . 121 

XXXVI. The Snow Storms of December, 1 786, . . 124 

XXXVIL The Cyclone of August, 1787, ... 135 

XXXVm. The Meteor of 1787, . * . . . . 143 

XXXIX. The Gale of 1 788, 146 

XL. The Whirlwind of June 19, 1794, . . . 149 

XLI. The Long Storm of November, 1 798, . . 153 

XLII. Hail Storm in Connecticut in 1799, . . 156 

XLIII. The Freshet of 1 80 1, 159 



CONTENTS. V 

Craptbr. Pagb. 

XLIV. The Great Snow Storm of February, 1802, . 161 

XLV. Storm of October, 1804, .... 168 

XLVI. Total Eclipse of the Sun, 1806, . . . 173 

XLVII. The Freshet of 1807 176 

XLVIII. The Meteorite of 1807, 178 

XLIX. Cold Friday, 1810, 180 

L. The Freshet of 18 14, 183 

LI. The Tornado in New Hampshire in 18 14, . 185 

LII. The Gale of September 23, 1 81 5, . . . 187 

LIII. The Cold Summer of 181 6, . . . . 204 

LIV. The Tornadoes of September 9, 1 82 1, . . 214 

LV. The Spring Freshet of 1823, . . . 229 

LVI. The Spring Freshet of 1826, .... 232 

LVIL The Avalanche in the White Mountains, and 

Destruction of the Willey Family, . . 236 

LVIII. The Wreck of the Almira, 1 82 7, . . . 242 

LIX. Gale and Freshet of April, 1827, . . . 247 

LX. The Storm of March, 1830, . . . 249 

LXI. • The Great Freshet of July, 1830, . . . 252 

LXII. Meteoric Display of 1833, .... 261 

LXIII. Winter of 1835-36, 263 

LXIV. The Storms of December, 1839, • • • ^^^ 

LXV. The '^October Gale," 1841, . . . 279 

LXVL The Storm of 1842, 289 

LXVII. The Freshet of 1846, 292 



VI CX>NTENTS. 

Chaftrk. Pag b 

LXVIII. The Storm of December, 1847, • • • 295 

LXIX. The Storm of October, 1849, .... 299 

LXX. The "Lighthouse" Storm, 1851, ... 302 

LXXI. The Tornado of August 22, 185 1, . . 311 

LXXII. The Storm of April, 1852, . . . . 317 

LXXIII. The Freshet of November, 1853, . . . 321 

LXXIV. Winter of 1856-57, ...... 323 

LXXV. TheGaleofSeptember 8, 1869, . . 329 

LXXVI. The Tornado at Wallingford, Conn., in 1878, 332 

LXXVII. The Yellow Day of 1 88 1, .... 336 

LXXVIII. Cyclone at Lawrence, Mass., in 1890, . . 338 



INTRODUCTION. 



**Tis pleasant, by the cheerful hearth, to hear 
Of tempests, and the dangers of the deep. 
And pause at times, and feel that we are safe ; 
Then listen to the perilous tale again, 
And, with an eager and suspended soul, 
Woo terror to delight us." 

SOME of the readers of this volume after they have finished its 
perusal will probably pronounce it a series of tales of horror, and 
even those who are supposed to thoroughly understand the history 
of New England will be liable to think that the facts are overstated. 
It does indeed present a series of instances of varied natural phenorp- 
ena, often resulting in great and terrible disaster. 

New England lies between the torrid and the frigid zones, and its 
climate often suddenly changes from that of one zone to that of the 
other, having at times the hot wind and air of the south, and again 
the snow and ice and cold of the north. 

The average temperature of the year is about forty- six degrees above 
zero, but it is exceedingly variable, ranging between fifty degrees be- 
low zero in winter to one hundred and two above in summer. The 
changes are frequent, great and sudden, the mercury sometimes fall- 
ing fifty- five degrees in twenty- four hours. 

The prevailing wind is the northwest ; and when it blows from that 
quarter the weather is generally pleasant, and the air pure, dry and 
invigorating. The most uncomfortable wind is the northeast, which 
is much felt and complained of along the coast and in the interior as 
far as the Connecticut river, especially by those people that are affected 
by pulmonary disease. West of the Green mountains it is rarely felt. 
This wind is strong and often attended with rain, sleet or snow, ac- 
cording to the season. 

(vii) 



■nil 



INTRODUCTION. 



The climate is generally conducive to health, strength and longev- 
ity, and to that high moral tone, and the active, enterprising spirit of 
the New Englander, that has liad so much to do in influencing the 
world in modern times. The climate is not a dry one by any means, 
as more rain falls here than in Europe, but in much less time, so that 
we have a larger share of clear, pleasant weather than the old world 
in the same latitude. Even "sunny France" does not have as many 
days of sunshine as New England. By a record kept here for many 
years, it is shown that the annual average number of pleasant days 
was one hundred and ninety-seven, three-fifths of them being very 
pleasant. 

The summers of New England are generally dry and delightful, and 
when the air reaches a state of oppressiveness from the heat it is pu- 
rified by thunder showers. The lightning attendantupon these show- 
ers has destroyed life and proj^erty nearly every summer and in some 
seasons has been very disastrous. In ancient times in the old world 
it was supposed that the objects that were struck by lightning were 
sacred, and bringing to mind the old superstition Cotton Mather said 
if that be true then "this is a sacred country indeed." 

A season peculiar to Neiv England is that known as the Indian sum- 
mer, which occurs in October and continues only two or three weeks. 
It comes after the early frosts, when the wind is southwest, and the 
air is dehghlfully mild and sweet. The sky is then singularly trans- 
parent, pure and beautiful, and the fleecy clouds are bright with color. 
The Indians believed the season la be caused by a wind that was sent 
from the southwestern god Cautantowwit, who was regarded as supe- 
rior to all other beings in benevolence and power, and the one to whom 
their souls went when they departed from the earthly body. 

The winter season generally begins the first of December and con- 
tinues into March, being usually cold and rigorous, and the tempera- 
ture often below zero. On the mountains and high hills snow falls 
earlier and remains later than in the lowlands, the wind driving it with 
great force into the long and deep gullies of the mountains so solidly 
that it is not quickly dissolved during the warm days of spring, and 
n the highest peaks even in July. Snow falls most deeply 
I during the northeast storms, which are the most violent, and of long- 
l est duration. It often fjlls also in the southeast storms, which are 
lisometimes more violent, but much shorter than the northeast ones. 



INTRODUCTION. IX 

the snow usually turning to rain after a few hours. On the sea-board 
the temperature is several degrees warmer than in the interior, which 
is probably due principally to the presence of the warm waters of the 
gulf stream. 

For periods of several years each, there have been series of severe 
and rigorous seasons, which have been followed by another series of 
mild winters, when little snow remained upon the ground, and the tem- 
perature was comparatively high for much of the time. After a series 
of mild winters, one of which series is now about closing probably, 
people think that a change must have occurred in the climate. There 
are very slight records of such series of mild winters, for people are 
not as apt to record pleasant seasons as they are those that are rig- 
orous and stormy, in which they have suffered, and which are indelibly 
impressed upon their memories. Nevertheless, each century has had 
them. The winter of 1774-75 is a good illustration of one of those 
seasons when no snow came to lay, and farmers plowed their 'land, 
flowers bloomed, and fruits grew and ripened. It will be remembered 
how early the next spring was and how the grass waved in the wind in 
Massachusetts on the nineteenth of April. The mild winters that 
have been experienced here during the last thirty years have rarely 
or never been wholly moderate. Perhaps those of 1869-70 and of 
1877-78 are the two mildest that" there have been in recent times. It 
will be remembered that the first two months of each of those win- 
ters were warm, no snow falling to remain on the ground, and it seemed 
that as an early writer put it "winter was turned into summer." But 
the latter part of each of those seasons was stormy, and the springs 
that followed were late and cold. The old saying that "Winter never 
rots in the sky" can generally be relied on. 

Storms frequently pass through New England and at all seasons. Of- 
ten accompanied by strong wind, they have many times proved very 
disastrous to forests and buildings and to the shipping on the coast. 
Thousands of vessels have been wrecked, and many lives lost. The 
great easterly storms have also wrought many changes on the sandy 
portions of the coast, especially at and near Cape C'od, where the great 
force of the wind and waves have opened and closed harbors, causing 
the shifting sand to move hither and thither, even far out from the 
shore, on which many a craft has been cast away. 

Many of the rain storms have produced great freshets that have 



proved very disastrous to life and property. The Indians here had a 
tradition that away back in the ante-historical days there was a flood 
which rose so high that it destroyed the entire hiiniaii pojiulalion of 
New England, with the exception of a chief Powwow and his squaw, 
who saved themselves on the top of Mount Washington in New Hamp- 
shire. 

It is said, and with much truth, that New England has more torna- 
does and cyclones in proportion to its area than any other part of the 
United States. They occur with comparative frequency, and are of- 
ten terrible in their efiects. Tornadoes and kindred winds have al- 
ways blown from a western to an eastern direction, and often at a 
speed of more than one hundred and thirty-five miles an hour. They 
are undoubtedly caused by rapidly shifting winds, and are associated 
with bad weather. General Greely advises that it is safest to go as 
far- as possible to the cyclone's left side, as that is the inside of the 
circle, and on that side the wind is least strong. 

The country has not been without those subterraneous convulsions 
generally known as earthquakes, of which more than five hundred have 
occurred here since the Pilgrims landed, several of them being fright- 
ful and disastrous. Although none of much severity has been felt 
since 1755,1! is not certain that no more will come, Agassiz believed 
that earthquakes had elevated and depressed portions of this conti- 
nent, and that it was very probable they would again. 




Hi5loric Storm5 of New En^Ix^nJ. 



CHAPTER I. 
The Great Storm of August, i6j§. 

IN the summer of 1635, the few English settlements scattered along 
the coast of New England were struggling to gain a foothold in the 
new world. Plymouth had indeed existed for fifteen years, but 
most of the villages had been founded only a few months, or a few 
years at the longest. On the Connecticut coast there was not a ham- 
let, and in the whole state in fact no settlement had been made, except 
at Wethersfield, on the Connecticut river. There, a few men had 
spent the preceding winter, their number having been increased this 
summer by some new colonists, who suffered for awhile with the others, 
and finally travelled across the wild country to Saybrook fort, the near- 
est place of refuge. Not another settlement could be found nearer 
than Plymouth, which was more than a hundred and fifty miles away, 
and separated therefrom by an unbroken wilderness inhabited only by 
Indians and wild animals. Following the coast of Massachusetts Bay, 
the next town beyond Plymouth was Scituate, then came Bear Cove 
(now Hingham) and Weymouth. The several settlements at or near the 
mouth of Charles river, most of them now being included in the city of 
Boston, came next. A short trip up the river, and a turn to the right 
through the woods brought Rev. Peter Bulkley and his small company 
to the site they had chosen for their new home, — this being the first 
colony that had penetrated the forest so far. In this summer of 1635 
they marched into the woods and took possession of the clearing they 
had made, building for their shelter huts covered with bark and brush- 
wood. Farther along the coast was Saugus (now Lynn), then came 

(3) 



4 HISTORIC STORRfS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

Salem, Ipswich and Newbury. At the moiilh of the Piscataqua river 
stood PorCsraouth, and up the stream was Dover. Nine miles from 
Portsmouth and also on the coast was York. With the exception ot 
these few, small, defenceless settlements in the clearings of the forest 
along Massachusetts Bay from Plymouth to York, and of VVethersfield, 
in Connecticut, the entire region now included in New England was 
the pathless, dangerous wilderness. 

The planting of the seed and the cultivation of the crops had been 
concluded, and some of the hay had been gathered and placed under 
cover for the support of the cattle during the coming winter. The 
whole of the second week of August the wind had blown from the di- 
rection of south- southwest with considerable force. At midnight of the 
fourteenth of the month its course was suddenly changed by way of 
the southeast to the northeast, and before daybreak a northeast rain 
storm was in progress. The wind had greatly increased in violence, 
blowing terrifically, and the rain fell in torrents, sometimes with such 
fury that the insecure houses of the settlers seemingly could not with- 
stand its force. After the gale had continued five or six hours, the 
wind changed to the nortliwest, and the tumultuous elements gradually 
subsided. 

The wind caused the tide to rise to a height unknown before. At 
Boston it measured twenty feet, and was brought in twice in twelve 
hours. The Narragansett Indians were obliged to climb into the tops 
of trees to save themselves from the great tide in their region. Many 
of them failed to do so, and were swallowed up by the surging waters. 
Had the storm continued much longer the water would have sub- 
merged several of the settlements. 

An inconceivable number of trees were blown over or liroken down, 
the stronger being torn up by the roots, and the tall pines and other 
brittle trees were broken in the middle. Slender young oaks and good- 
sized walnuts were twisted like withes, and Indian corn, the main de- 
pendence of the colonists, was beaten down and much of it destroyed, 
while it was hardly in the milk. 

Some houses were blown over, and the roofs of several were torn off. 
At the plantation of Manoment at Plymouth, the wind took off the 
roof of a house and carried it to another place. 

Among the many incidents of the storm is that of an old man in Ips- 
wich, who had a small boat in which he was accustomed to go to sea, 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 5 

his only companion being a dog that he had taught to steer. As the 
storm came on, he hoisted his sail and started off down the river in his 
boat. He was warned of the approaching tempest, but he replied, "I 
will go to sea, though the devil were there." He continued on his 
way, but neither he nor his boat was ever heard of again. 

Several shipwrecks were caused by the storm, for there were at this 
time large immigrations of settlers, and a number of ships were near 
the coast, having on board many passengers and goods for New Eng- 
land. 

The Great Hope, a ship belonging in Ipswich, England, of four hun- 
dred tons burden, was in Massachusetts Bay when the storm came on. 
The gale drove the vessel aground on a point near Charlestown. The 
wind suddenly changed to the northwest, and the ship was blown out 
into the bay, but soon came ashore at Charlestown. 

The ship James, of Bristol, England, having on board about one 
hundred passengers, who were from Lancashire, was near the Isles of 
Shoals when the gale came on. The vessel was run into a strait among 
the islands, the master thinking probably that he had secured a harbor ; 
but when well in he found that it was an unprotected passage. The 
anchors were lowered, and all three of them were lost, the violent and 
almost irresistible wind snapping the cables and leaving the anchors at 
the bottom of the deep. The vessel was then placed under sail and run 
before the northeast gale, but neither canvas nor ropes held, and she 
dashed through the foaming crests on toward the rocky shore of Pis- 
cataqua. Instant destruction seemed inevitable. But lo ! as if a 
mighty overruling hand controlled the angry elements, when within a 
cable's length of the ledges, the wind suddenly veered to the north- 
west, and the ship was blown away from the deadly rocks back toward 
the islands again. The wind in its change seemed but as mocking 
them after all for here they were plowing along toward rocks as dan- 
gerous as those they had just escaped. When about to strike in a 
last fatal plunge a part of the mainsail was let out, which caused the 
vessel to veer a ^little, and she weathered the rocks, almost touching 
them as she plunged past. The desired harbor was finally reached in 
safety. As they sped on their way havenward, they saw tossing on the 
still boisterous waves, goods of shipwrecked immigrants, which testi- 
fied to the thorough work of the storm-king. On board this ship was 
Rev. Richard Mather, the pastor of the other passengers, and his 



6 HICTOBIC STORMS OF NEW ENCLAN-D. 

family. Fourof his sons were afterward eminent clergymen. Another 
of the passengers was Jonathan Mitchell, a mere youth at the time, 
who became a worthy and useful minister. 

Another ship of Bristol, called the Angel Gairiei, arrived on our 
coast in season to encounter the storm. From Ihe time of setting sail 
from their native land, it is recorded, the passengers observed many 
things about the vessel as ominous of some great disaster. Tlie feel- 
ing certainly took form and grew into fact when the precious freight 
reached our inhospitable shores. The storm struck the vessel off Pem- 
aquid Point,' and dashed it against the foam covered rocks. The 
passengers were all saved, but their goods were lost. 

At this period ihere was a boat, belonging to Isaac Allerton, sailing 
regularly between Kscataqvia and Boston, It was a pinnace in Ijuild. 
On Wednesday, two days before the storm, the boat sailed from Ips- 
■wich, where it had stopped, on its trip to Uoston. The passengers 
were sixteen in number, and consisted of Rev. John Avery, his wife 
and six children.^ Mr. Avery's cousin Anthony Thacher, who had 
been in New England but a few weeks, his wife and four children,^ 
and another member of his family, and one other passenger. There 
were four mariners, Mr, Avery Iiad been a minister of good repute in 
Wiltshire, and came to Newbury, in New England, which had been 
settled the preceding year, with the intention of becoming the pastor 
of the little colony, but concluded not to remain, after being advised 
and urged by his friends and the magistrates and his brotliers in the 
ministry to settle in Harblehead. He decided to go to Marblehead, 
and on this Wednesday took the boat at Ipswich for that purpose. 

The loaded craft sailed down the placid river, while behind them 

"Pleasant, lay the clearings in the mellow summer morn, 
With the newly planted orchards dropping Iheir fruils lirst-born. 
And the homesteads like green islands amid a sea of cnrn. 

"Broad meadows reached out seaward the tideiJ creeks between. 
And hills rolled wave-like inland, wilh oaks and walnuls green ;— 
A fairer home, a goodlier land, their eyes had never seen." 



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Lincoln County, Maine, estGading into tlie 
nolher writer eaye Uitit there we 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 7 

After entering Ipswich Bay the course of the shallop was changed 
more southerly, but it was soon discovered that progress in that direc- 
tion was much impeded ; and, as they proceeded farther into the face 
of the wind, it blew so strongly that no advance could be made, tack- 
ing being useless though it was tried again and again. On the evening 
of Friday, the fourteenth, after striving for two days to round Cape 
Ann, they had not succeeded in doing so. The wind became stronger 
during the evening, still blowing in the same direction. At ten o'clock, 
a fresh gale was rushing over the waters, their sails being rent by it, 
and the vessel was anchored. At midnight, the direction of the wind 
changed to the northeast, and the storm came on in all its fury. The 
vessel dragged its anchor, and drifted about at the merciless control 
of strong winds and mighty waves. 

"Blotted out were all the coast-lines, gone were rock, and wood, and sand, 
Grimly anxious stood the skipper with the rudder in his hand, 
And questioned of the darkness what was sea and what was land. 

"And the preacher heard his dear ones nestled round him weeping sore : 
'Never heed, my little children ! Christ is walking on before 
To the pleasant land of heaven, where the sea shall be no more.' 

"All at once the great cloud parted, like a curtain drawn aside. 
To let down the torch of lightning on the terror far and wide; 
And the thunder and the whirlwind together smote the tide.'* 

The vessel was driven nearer and nearer to the rocky shore. Then 
came a shock, the vessel had struck, and the sound of breaking tim- 
bers added to the thunder of the storm. The pinnace was upon the 
rock off what is now Rockport, which has since been known as Crack- 
wood's Ledge. 1 

When the vessel struck, Mr. Avery and his eldest son and Mr. 
Thacher and his daughter were thrown into the seething waters and 
carried by a mighty wave upon the rock. When they found themselves* 
there, they called to those in the pinnace to come to them. During 
the few moments they were upon the ledge, expecting every instant to 
be washed from their footing into the raging sea, Mr. Avery raised his 
eyes toward heaven, and uttered these memorable last words : "Lord, 

'The fatal rock for more than two centuries was supposed to be that called Avery's 
Bock; but later investigations have brought about the conclusion that Crackwood's 
Ledge is the place. This is located about a hundred yards distant from Thacher's 
Island. 



8 mSTOBIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

I cannot challenge a preservation of my life, but according to tliy cov- 
enant I challenge Heaven." Hardly harl the words been spoken, 
when a gigantic wave lifted the pinnace on high and dashed it as with 
giatit arms upon the rock, washing from the ledge tliose who had 
gained a momentary foothold upon it. Thus passed Mr. Avery and 
all his household lo their eternal rest. Whillier has put the incident 
into poetry calhng it the "Swan Song of Parson Avery," from which 
extracts have already been made. Of this portion of the story, he 
wrote the followingjines ; 

"Tbere was wailing in the shallop, woman'g wail and niBD'a despair, 
A crash of breaking liiubets on ihe rocks so sliarp and bare. 
And, through il all, the murmur of Father Avery's prayer. 

"From his struggle in the darliness with the wild waves and the blast. 
On a rock, where every billow broke above him as it passed, 
' Alone, of all his household, the man of God was cast. 

"There a comrade heard him praying, in the pause of wave and wind : 
'All my own have gone before me, and I linger just behimi; 
Not for life 1 ask, but only, for the rest thy ransomed lind I 

" 'In this nighl of death, I challenge the promise uf Ihy word I — 
Let me seethe gtest salvation of which mine ears have heard ! — 
Let me pass from hence forgiven, through the grace of Christ, our Lord ! 



" 'In the bnpti: 
And let me f< 
Open the sea 



n of these waters wash white m 
How up to Ihee my household a' 
;ate of thy heaven, and let me e 



"When Ihe Christian sings his dealh-song, all the listening heavens draw near,- 
And the angels, leaning over the walls of crystal, hear 
How the notes so faint ^nd broken sweil to inu«c in God's ear. 

"The ear of God was open to his servant's last request ; 
As the strong wave swept him downward, the sweel hymn upward pressed, 
And the soul of Father Avery went singing to its rest." 

The pinnace was such a small vessel and its destruction had been so 
complete there were few timbers for the drowning men, women and 
cliildren to cHng to. After having been beaten about in the surging 
waters for a quarter of an hour, hope having left him, for what could 
save any of them now ! being now and then ihron'n against the rocks, 
Mr. Thacher feh a firm footing. He soon found himself standing whh 

s head above the water, his face toward the shore, whicli he soon 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 9 

reached in safety. He felt so grateful for his deliverance that he 
thanked God for it, and then looked about him to see what he could 
do for his companions. In the midnight blackness of the storm, his 
gaze was greatly restricted, and his voice was thrown back to him in 
mockery by the raging winds or drowned in the thunders of the waters. 
At first he could discern nothing, nor hear any human cries, but after 
a few moments he saw some pieces of the frame work of the pinnace 
being washed toward him, with a woman's form entangled in them. 
After a severe struggle, the woman extricated herself from the timbers, 
and before he could get to the place where she struck the shore she 
had reached it in safety. It was his wife. 

The storm raged on. 

Mr. Thacher and his wife watched there in the rain and the blast 
for signs of their companions, but none came. Of the twenty souls 
on board the pinnace, only these two were saved. Their quartette of 
little ones had passed on with the rest. With sad and dejected hearts 
they sought a resting place under a sheltering bank. Some provision 
and clothing came ashore, and also, fortunately, a "snapsack," in which 
was a steel and flint, and some dry gunpowder. They built a fire, and 
made themselves as comfortable as they could under the sorrowfiil 
circumstances. The question of subsistence arose and confronted 
them as soon as the storm was over and daylight came, and they dis- 
covered that they were upon an island. The waters slowly resumed 
their usual state, and the August sun shed its hopeful rays over the 
stretch of ocean. In three directions the sea and sky met in their 
limitless range, and on the west the main land stretched away. They 
had no chance of reaching it, and signs of distress could awaken no 
response, for none but the savage of the forest was there. What 
could they do ! Day passed, and night came on with all its horrible 
memories. Another day dawned, but before it had worn away, they 
were' discovered by the people on a passing vessel, and taken off, being 
carried to Marblehead. On leaving the island Mr. Thacher gave it 
his name, calling it "Thacher's Woe," and the next year it was granted 
to him by the General Court. It has since borne his name, and for 
a hundred and twenty years the lamp in the lighthouse there has shed 
its warning rays over the ocean billows. 

Among the things brought away from the island by Mr. Thacher were 
a cradle and an embroidered scarlet broadcloth covering, which were 



lO HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

saved from the wreck, and are still preserved by his descendants of 
the name in Yarmouth, Mass. 

The friends of Mr. Thacher, from time to time, gave him presents 
which largely compensated him for the loss of his- property by the 
storm, and the vacant places in his household were afterward partially 
filled. He settled in Yarmouth, where he died in 1668, at about eighty 
years of age. 

The story of this shipwreck was often told about the hearth-fires of 
the coast-dwellers in the long winter evenings of the years that fol- 
lowed. And the fishermen, with "grave and reverend faces," recalled 
the ancient tale, when they passed the fatal ledge and saw the white 
waves breaking over it. 

Governor Bradford, who was a witness of the tempest, said that none 
then living, either English or Indian, ever saw a storm equal to it. It 
was universal, no part of the country being exempt from its injurious 
effects, which visibly remained for many years. 



CHAPTER II. 
The Earthquake of j6j8, 

THE morning of Friday, June i, 1638, was very pleasant. The 
sun shone brightly, and the wind came gently from the west. 
The month of roses never opened more auspiciously. 

Noon came and passed, and the settlers proceeded to their various 
labors in the field. Between one and two o*clock acute ears heard a 
low murmur of distant sound, which grew louder and clearer until every 
one heard what seemed to be the rumble of thunder far away. In a 
minute or two it increased in volume and in sharpness until it resembled 
the rattling of many carriages fiercely driven over granite pavements. 
The people were startled by the noise and discontinued the work upon 
which they were engaged to discover whence the sound came, and 
what it was. A clear sky beamed down upon them. Not a cloud 
could be seen out of which the thunder tones could emanate. Tlie 
more they thought of the matter, the greater grew their perplexity. 
Not many moments elapsed, however, before the earth began to trem- 
ble beneath their feet, and terrified they threw down their tools and 
ran reeling like drunken men, with ghastly countenances, to the first 
group of people they could find, for men like many animals will flock 
together when they are afraid. The shaking of the earth increased to 
such a violent extent that people could not stand erect without sup- 
porting themselves by taking hold of posts or palings and other fixtures. 
Not only the mainland, but the islands in the ocean were shaken vio- 
lently, and the vessels that rode in the harbors and those sailing along 
the coast were acted upon as if a series of tidal waves had passed un- 
der them. 

People in their houses were much alarmed, for not only did they 
hear the awful sound and feel the trembling of the earth, but the houses 
over them shook to their very foundations, and it seemed as if they 

00 



la HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

must collapse. The chimneys of the first houses here were built c 
outside at the ends of the houses, with the tops rising just above the 1 
roof. They were massive piles of rough and uneven stones, generally \ 
some sk feet square, the sides being nearly perpendicular. Im 
fectly built, without mortar except for filling, they readily yielded to 
the terrible shaking they received, and the tops of many of them fell 
off, striking on the house or on the ground. The noise of the fallinj 
stones outside accompanied the rattle of pewter platters and dishes 
and other things that stood upon shelves in the houses, which knocked 
against each other and fell down. 

This first and greatest shock of the earthquake continued for about 
four minutes. It came from the western and uninhabited portion of 
the country and proceeded easterly into the Atlantic. It shook the 
whole country from the coast into the wilderness for many miles, the 
Indians reporting that they felt h far in the interior. 

The first shock died away and the noise ceased. The people be- 
gan to resume their several labors. Half an hour passed, when to 
their surprise and terror, the horrible rumbling of the thunderous sound, 
and the quaking of the earth were renewed. But it quickly passed, 
being less violent than the first shock. For twenty days the earth was-; 
in an unquiet condition. 

Some of the people of Plymouth were about to remove to another 
place, and several of the principal persons of the town were gathered 
at a house for an hour of conference before their separation. While 
thus engaged, the terrible noise and shaking of the earth came upon 
them. The men were sitling in the house talking together, and some 
women and others were without the door. Those outside would have 
been thrown to the ground if they had not caught hold of the posts 
and pales near wliich they were standing. 

At Newbury, a town meeting was in progress, and while the ques- . 
tions which arose for decision were being discussed, the sound of 
the on-coming earthquake burst upon their ears, as the historian says, 
like ''a shrill clap of thunder." The building was violently shaken ; 
and wonder and amazement and fear filled the minds of the people. 
After the lurault had ceased, before proceeding to further business, 
the assembly voted to record the fact of the eanhquake, concludinj 
their record thus, " wherefore taking notice of so great and strange t 
hand of God's providence, we were desirous of leaving it on record to 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 1 3 

the view of after ages to the intent that all might take notice of Al- 
mighty God and fear his name." 

The summers for several years after the earthquake were cool and 
unseasonable for the ripening of com and other crops, as compared 
with those of a number of years preceding it. They were also subject 
to unseasonable frosts, and on this account Indian corn seldom ma- 
tured. Whether this was a change brought about by, or was a result 
of the earthquake is of course uncertain, though it does seem reason- 
able to suppose that the earth after its convulsions would be cooler 
than it was before. 

Earthquakes are always fearful and impressive, but the people of the 
time when this one occurred must have had many doubts and fears 
in their minds. They were not only superstitious, but this was a new 
and unknown world, which but a few years before was pictured with 
the most awful terrors. 

This, the greatest earthquake of the seventeenth century, marked 
an epoch in the lives of the settlers of New England, and for many 
years afterwards it was common for them to compute dates of inci- 
dents as "so long since the earthquake." 




THE summer of 1662 was very dry. and the following winter was 
moderate, there being no frost in the gromid until December 20, 
even as far nortli as Hannpton. 

On the evening of Monday, January 26, 1662-3, the people of New 
England were quietly sitting in the light of their hearth iires, telling 
stories, perhaps recurring to the earthquake of a quarter of a century 
before, which the older members of the families remembered so vividly, 
when suddenly outside the doors was heard a peculiar roaring soundj 
which grew louder and louder, until the fire places trembled and the 
flames from the burning sticks crinkled as they ascended the chimney. 
T!ie trembling increased until the houses shook and rocked, and the 
tenons of the limbers moved in and out of their mortises. Many 
chimneys were broken, and others were thrown down. Lids of warm- 
ing pans were flung up, and pewler dishes fell off the shelves. Per- 
sons who were standing when the shock came were compelled to either 
sit or fall down. 

Boston was the only locality mentioned where much damage was 
done. There it wrought injury in various ways. In fact, the towns 
on the shore of Massachusetts Bay seemed to fee! the shock more than 
other portions of New England. 

Although New England was more or less shaken, the country on 
either side of it suffered more. It extended as far north as Canada, 
and south to Mexico, probably being felt farther in both directions. 

Three distinctly separate shocks were felt, shaking in all more than 
a quarter of an hour. It would appear from the records tiiat this earth- 
quake exceeded in severity lliat of 1638. 

Two days later there was aiiotlier shock, and February g another, 
which was repeated at dark the same evening. Two days afterward, 
(■4) 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 1 5 

at nine o'clock in the morning, there was another shock. The earth 
did not cease to quake until the following July. 

The people were again agitated, and became more pious than they 
had been, being fearful that they might be called before the Lord, the 
Righteous Judge, without notice and without preparation. A corres- 
pondent of a Massachusetts newspaper wrote the following lines on 
the morning of an earthquake in 1 786, which are applicable to this 
earthquake : " When we consider the dreadful scenes that have been 
caused in the world by earthquakes, nothing is more truly alarming 
than the convulsions of the earth under us, threatening an instantan- 
eous destruction. But let us be prepared for eternal happiness ; 

" * Then if the frame of nature round us break, 
In hideous ruin and confusion hurled; 
We unconcerned may bear the mighty shock, 
And stand secure amidst the falling world.' '' 




■^HEfirst comet to appear in the heavens of New England, of ivliich 
we have any account, blazed forth from Orion from the ninth lo 
the twenty-second of December, 1652. It was large and had a 
long and beautiful tail. The people shuddered when they looked at 
it, for they thought its appearance was inevitably connected with some 
famine or plague. Another one appeared from February 3 to March 
28, 166 1. No calamity of any great consequence, certainly, happened 
in New England as the result of these celestial visits. 

Now, in this mild winter of 1664--5, another had come to startle 
the settlers of New England, "The great and dreadful comet," as 
Josselyn called it, made its first appearance on the eighth of Novem- 
ber. It came, not only as a visitor to New England's skies, but as a 
universal guest, being visible from all parts of the north temperate zone 
and probably from all settled portions of the globe. Night after night 
the whole winter through, "the great blazing starre" took its position 
in the southern sky as soon as the stars began to glint in the evening 
constellations. 

Its size and extreme brilliancy greatly alarmed the people. Comets 
were generally believed to be onnens of something to be dreaded, and 
the learned men of the times taught the people to fear their approach, 
Morton said to them that it was '-no fiery meteor caused by exhalation, 
but it appeared to be sent immediately by God to awake the secure 
world." By this sign they were, as they believed, forewarned of the 
judgment of Jehovah upon the people for their sins, but just what that 
judgment would be was a mystery. After a comet had disappeared, 
calamities which succeeded it within the space of a year or two were 
ascribed to its influence. In regard to the events which were believed 
to be foreshadowed by this comet, a writer of the time said, " Tbe 
effects appeared much in England, in a great and dreadful plague that 
(.6) 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 1 7 

followed the next summer, in the dreadful war by sea with the Dutch, 
and the burning of London the second year following." 

When we consider that after all the years astronomers have been 
telling us that comets are not dangerous, the great mass of mankind 
are still disturbed by the appearance of these heavenly messengers, we 
can understand how the people of the early period here, in their igno- 
rance and superstition, must have been affected. The great meteoric 
ball and graceful curving tail of sparkling fire, many thousands, per- 
haps millions of miles in length, was to them firightful in two ways. 
First, as has already been stated, as the precursor of some dreadful 
event ; and, second, as in itself an instrument capable of the direst 
consequences if a too close acquaintance was made with our little 
planet. 

The end of the world must have been prominent in the minds of 
the people of early colonial days, for it has always been supposed by 
the general populace that the world would at last be destroyed by fire, 
and what messenger could perform this duty so quickly and so effect- 
ually ? A comet had only to approach a httle nearer, and with ^ whisk 
of its fiery tail it could consume everything combustible ; or, a con- 
junction of the molten ball with the earth would annihilate the latter 
instantly. 

So thoughts ran in the minds of the beholders of this fiery visitor of 
1664, 2ind as the evenings came and the unwelcome guest presented 
itself, fear and doubt and anxiety kept the people in an unhappy state 
of mind all through the long winter. Its disappearance was a wel- 
come event. 

Probably no one now living has seen such large and glaring comets 
as were visible here in the colonial and provincial days. 

2 



CHAPTER V. 



Strange Appi 



1 1667. 



THE winter of 1666-67 was unseasonably warm. The ground was 
but slightly frozen, and very little snow fell in any portion of 
New England. It was one of those winters that gave the inhab- 
itants the notion that the climate was changing, and that they would 
not again experience such severe seasons as they had passed through' 
since the settlement of the countrj-. Each mild' winter has brought 
into men's minds the same thoughts, which would be dissipated when 
the succeeding winter with its cold and snow came upon them, 

Toward the close of the month of February a singular and unde- 
finable object appeared in the southwestern section of the sky. It. 
sometimes resembled the tail of a comet without the star; and, again, 
in the imagination of the beholder, seemed like a spear, thicker in the- 
middle than at either end. Its position was not perpendicular, but it 
leaned to the east, the lower end pointing to the place of the sun's 
exit. It was quite bright and of a whitish color. It appeared in the 
evening about an hour after darkness came on and slowly descended 
until it vanished. beneath the horizon. It was seen only four or five., 
nights in all and those successively. 

Whether or not it was a lingering beam of the sun's rays we cannot 
of course tell. The people of that time believed it to be a sign of 
some impending calamity. Some writers have called it a comet, but 
it certainly was not. Morton calls it a sign and exclaimed after he had 
seen it, " God awaken us that we be not heedless spectators of his 
wonderful works." Those who thought it was a sign, and imagined 
that it resembled a spear, concluded tliat it gave warning of an im- 
pending massacre by the Indians, and that it had special reference to 
the war with King Philip in 1675 and 1676. 

Several ministers and magistrates, who had been prominent in New 
England, died the following year, and Rev. Simon Bradstreet of New 
(IB) 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 1 9 

London, Conn., wrote in his diary kept at the time, that " Possibly 
the death of these precious servants of Christ might not be the least 
thing signified by that blaze or beam." 

The strange visitor was not without its moral influence upon the peo- 
ple. A writer says, " it excited the magistrates to promote a reforma- 
tion of manners;" though the UniversalHis tory ohstrvts ihoX ^^ i\iQ 
only thing of that kind that happened was a renewal of the persecution 
against the Baptists and Quakers." 




I 



Shipwreck of Ephraim Howe. 

'I I BOUT the twentieth of September, 1676, a violent storm pre- 
jrl vailed on the New England coast, causing vessels to be wrecked 
and otherwise doing much damage. 

The most interesting portion of its history is the shipwreck of 
EphraJHj Howe, a sea-captain of New Haven, Conn., who regularly 
sailed, in a vessel called a ketch, of about seventeen tons burden, be- 
tween New Haven and Boston. On September 10, he set sail from the 
latter port, having on board two of his sons, who were able seamen, two 
passengers and a boy. Contrary winds detained them for several days 
and before they could double Cape Cod the storm came upon them. 
The ketch was driven upon the shoals and almost stranded. While 
endeavoring to keep afloat, the rudder was lost, from which time their 
control of the vessel was gone, and they were carried out to sea. 
Tossed to and fro and almost overwhelmed, the treacherous waters 
forced them farther and iarther from the coast until the shore faded 
from their earnest gaze, and they were wanderers on the pathless, dan- 
gerous deep. 

The father became sick from the exposure to wet and cold, but soon 
grew better. The oldest son suffered severely from the effects of the 
storm and eleven days only passed, after their last view of the sandy 
hills of Cape Cod, before he died and was entombed in the sea. 
Only a few more days elapsed when the other son, who had been un- 
able to perform his duties for a short time, also fell a victim to expos- 
ure and died. The father felt their deaths severely at this trying time ; 
but in speaking of the loss of his sons in after years said that their 
resignation and faith in Christ and their escape from a more terrible 
experience, which seemed certain to come, greatly consoled him. 

Captain Howe was now sick himself in the cabin most of the time, 

1 the vessel drifted at the pleasure of the winds and waves. While 

(JO) 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENCUND. 11 

in this hopeless state, one of the passengers died, aiso from the effects 

of exposure. Half of the company were now gone. Only Captain 

Howe, Mr. Augur, one of the passengers, and the lad were left, 

I Their necessities and fears increased. Winter would soon be upon 

I them. Something definite must be done I They must not be inactive 

longer. There seemed to be but two propositions to consider. They 

must either endeavor to reach the New England coast, or sail for the 

islands of the south. Divine guidance was sought, and after praying 

earnestly they drew lots to determine which course they should take, 

L The lot fell upon New England and immediately, with a new rudder, 

Iwhich they had constructed, they turned their prow in the direction in 

f which they supposed New England lay. 

Storm after storm gathered about them and violently swept over 
them, threatening their destruction. Cold and penetrating winds 
rushed over the limiUess waters, sometimes so forcibly that tliose sta- 
tioned at the sail had to be fastened with ropes to enable them to stand 
I in their places. Though in a slate of lx)dily weakness. Captain Howe 
now stood at the helm for twenty-four hours, and sometimes even thir- 
ty-six hours, at a time, while the waves dashed over the deck so strongly 
that he had to be lashed fast to the helm to escape being washed over- 
board. 
A month had passed since they set out for New England, when they 
I again lost their rudder. Their courage was now so far gone that they 
■ did not think it worth while to try to make another. Hope had left 
them. In their despair the craft was permitted to drift wheresoever 
it would for a fortnight. All this time Captain Howe's clothes had 
rarely been dry, and none of the three had consumed any warm food 
ore than three times while they had been in their lamentable condi- 



About three months had elapsed since they bad seen land, and it 
'•Was nearly seven weeks since they determined to strive to reach their 
e coast. A strong wind was one day driving the vessel before it 
amid the white-capped waves, when to their surprise the sound of 
I breakers was heard, and a peculiar motion was felt about the ketch. 
■ Upon examining into their situation, they found themselves aground 
lon a reef, with the sea breaking violently around them. It was after- 
K.ward ascertained that they were on a sunken island off the coast at 
I €ape Sable, Nova Scotia, the tops of whose ledges were scarcely be- 




I 



aa mSTOKIC S'TORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

neath the surface of the water, causing the waves to break above them. 
They looked away from the foaming breakers leeward and saw dreary 
rocks rising from the water, the spray flying over them. If the vessel 
had not caught on these hidden rocks, it would probably have been 
driven ashore and dashed to pieces on the relentless ledges. They 
immediately dropped an anchor and got out the boat, which they 
still had. Much to their relief the wind ceased its violence, and the 
waters grew less turbulent. They put a few things into the boat, but 
under the excitement of the occasion look much less than they after- 
ward wished. The shore was reached successfully, and they landed. 

The violent wind which had driven them on the reef had come from 
the east, bringing in its wake a slorm which after the short lull, burst 
upon them. The vessel was stove to pieces, and from it floated ashore 
iL cask of powder, a barrel of wine and several other things. 

' Ignorant of the place where they found themselves, their attention 
was now turned to an examination of the country. To their dismay 
they soon learned that it was a desolate island, with neither man nor 
beast upon it, and their great hopes of succor were dashed. Perish- 
ing of hunger here seemed hardly preferable to drowning in the sea, 
or starving in their vessel. But being on land was at least a change 
which was welcomed after their three months' voyage on the boister- 



With some things which they had brought from the vessel they made 
a sort of tent to shelter them from the storms and extreme cold of the 
region at this season. After the structure had become dilapidated a 
cave was made which afterward served as their abode. 

The only inhabitants of the island beside themselves were birds, 
consisting of gulls and crows. It has been already stated that a cask of 
powder had floated ashore. A gun or two also came with the wreck 
of the ketch. The guns and ammunition seemed to be their only 
means of obtaining sustenance, but the birds were so scarce thatrarely 
more than one could be shot during a single excursion for that pur- 
pose. Consequently, the food was necessarily sparingly eaten, ofttiraes 
only half a bird, with the liquor, sufficing for a meal for all three. At 
one time they had no food at all for five days ; but they had become 
so accustomed to abstinence that the stomach foi^ot its cravings 
which seemed to them a special blessing. 

The days dragged drearily away. Their time was spent in watching 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 23 

for the appearance of some vessel, in gunning for birds, and in medita- 
tion upon their hopeless condition. They knew not where they were, 
and it seemed to matter little except they could have wished the spot 
to have been in a warmer climate. They not only suffered from cold 
and exposure, for spring was not yet come, but also from unwhole- 
some food,^ one or more of them being sick most of the time. After 
twelve weeks had been spent on the island, death relieved Mr. Augur 
from further suffering. The youth also died in April, only a few days 
after Mr. Augur had left them. 

Captain Howe was now alone on this forlorn island. If the days 
had passed wearily while his companions were alive, how great his 
lonesomeness now must have been. No hermit was ever more soli- 
tary. His was, indeed, the reflection of Alexander Selkirk, which 
Cowper supposes him to have had during his abode on the island of 
Juan Fernandez. 

" O solitude ! where are the charms 
That sages have seen in thy face ? 
Better dwell in the midst of alarms. 
Than reign in this horrible place. 

"I am out of humanity's reach^ 

I must finish my journey alone. 
Never hear the sweet music of speech, 
I start at the sound of my own. 



"Ye winds that have made me your sport, 
Convey to this desolate shore 
Some cordial endearing report 
Of a land I shall visit no more. 

'*When I think of my own native land, 
In a moment I seem to be there; 
But, alas ! recollection at hand 
Soon hurries me back to despair.** 

Captain Howe was supplied with his daily food by the ravens, Eli- 
jah-like, for months after the winter was over. The weather became 
milder as spring came on, and he was more comfortable. 

1 One acconnt says that only Captain Howe's sons died at sea, the passengers and 
the lad dying on the island. 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 



FishiDg vessels, on their 
frequently sailed within vi( 
that his great need could 
might come to his relief. 



way to and from the Grand Banks, now 
w of the island. He used all the means 
suggest to attract their attention that they 
ithing availed ; either they did not 



see his signals, or seeing them supposed that they proceeded from 
some band of hostile Indians, for this was at the time of King Philip's 
war, when all the savages within the regions of New England were ar- 
rayed on one side or the other in the last national struggle against the 
white settlers. 

Captain Howe had now been alone nearly three months. He had 
spent much of the time in meditation and, being a Christian, in prayer, 
beseeching God to provide some way for his escape. At last, a new 
thought struck him, as it did Selkirk, that 

"There s mercy in every place, 

And mercy, encoaraging thought] 
Gives even afniction a grace, 
And recuncUes man lo his lot." 



In spite of all the misery that surrounded him and while believing that 
death must soon relieve him from his sufferings, he fasted and prayed, 
repenting of the sins which were worthy of the calamities that had be- 
fallen him. Turning from his mendicant position, he could now see 
so much mercy that had been shown to him that he was sorry for his 
forgetfulness and selfishness and determined to acknowledge it in some 
solemn way of thanksgiving. He set apart a day for that purpose. A 
few days later, in answer to his prayers, as he believed, a passing ves- 
sel sailed much nearer the island than others had done. He eagerly 
adopted means to attract the attention of the people on board and 
make known to them the presence of a shipwrecked mariner. The 
vessel belonged to Salem, Mass. His signal was seen, and a boat was 
sent to the island. With a heart overflowing with emotion he boarded 
the boat and was welcomed on the vessel which immediately pro- 
ceeded on its homeward way. Joy and thanksgiving filled his breast. 
He arrived in Salem on July 8, 1677, a few days after his rescue, ten 
months having elapsed since he left Boston on his disastrous trip. 
He returned to his family and friends at New Haven, where he was 
hardly recognized, his sickness and suffering from exposure, cold and 
hunger having had their due effects upon him. 



CHAPTER VII. 
The Comet of 1680. 

GREAT notice was taken of all comets in the colonial days. Sev- 
eral have already been mentioned, but the Newtonian comet of 
1680, as it was called, should not be passed unnoticed. It was 
first seen at Boston at five o'clock on the morning of November 14, 
1680, appearing in the southeastern sky near fourteen degrees in Libra 
and one degree and three minutes southward of the ecliptic. The sky 
being clear, the comet at first appeared plainly, but in a few moments 
became faint, and vanished away as day began to break. The tail 
appeared to be about thirty degrees in length. Some writers have 
said that it reached from the zenith nearly to the horizon. 

It appeared earlier and earlier in the morning until about December 
8, when it began to be seen in the evening. It continued to be visi- 
ble till February 10, when it failed to come within the view of the na- 
ked eye, though it could be discerned for some time longer with the 
aid of a telescope. Astronomers fix the time of its next visit to our 
planet in the year 2225, five hundred and forty- five years being nec- 
essary to the completion of its circuit, which is a fact too stupendous 
for us to realize when we think of the great speed of these bodies. 

The magnitude and brightness of this comet caused consternation 
in Europe and America, and, in fact, in those times people all over 
the globe were alarmed at the uncommon things that appeared in the 
heavens. 

Increase Mather gave a lecture on the comet, saying, in his intro- 
duction, that '* As for this blazing star, which hath occasioned this 
discourse, it was a terrible sight indeed, especially about the middle 
of December last, the stream of such a stupendous magnitude, as that 
few men now living ever beheld the like." 

Not only were the common people of New England terrified at the 

(25) 



26 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND, 

appearance of their heavenly visitor, but the alarm reached all classes. 
The governor and council of the Massachusetts Bay colony appointed a 
general fast, one reason assigned for it in the proclamation being "that 
awful, portentous, blazing star, usually foreboding some calamity to the 
beholders thereof." The greatest strictness was observed by the people 
in keeping the fast. Probably the terror arose chiefly from ignorance 
and superstition, but it was as real to them as if it had been demon- 
strated to be true by the best astronomers. The clergy throughout 
New England sought to make the most of this fear, some have said 
with hypocritical intentions, for the purpose of making converts to 
their religious views. We suppose that most of them did really believe 
with the laity that .the alarm was well founded, and that the time was 
at hand when they might be suddenly called to meet their Creator. 
Therefore, feeling the responsibility of their position, they besought 
their congregations to turn unto God while yet there was time. The 
result was that many were brought into the fold, and the ordinances 
of the church were more carefully observed. 



CHAPTER VIII. 
Strange Appearance in the Heavens in 1682, 

THE apparitions described in this chapter are supposed to have 
been instances of the exhibition of mirage, produced by atmos- 
pheric refraction. Several incidents of a similar character are 
recorded in the annals of New England, as the phantom ship of New 
Haven. In instances of mirage, the objects are generally inverted, 
though if there occurs a double refraction they will appear higher in 
the air, but standing in their ordinary positions. Though not now 
deemed worthy of being classed with unaccountable things, yet two 
hundred years ago, people were strong believers in the supernatural, 
and ascribed everything that seemed to be of that nature to such a 
cause. The first instance mentioned below is believed by many to 
have been simply the product of a lively imagination. 

At Lynn, Mass., one evening in 1682, after the sun had set, and 
darkness had begun to throw its pall over the land, a man by the name 
of Handford went out of doors to ascertain if the new moon had risen. 
In the western sky lay a black cloud of strange appearance, and after 
looking at it a short time he discovered that it contained the figure of 
a man completely armed, standing with his legs apart, and hold- 
ing a pike in his hands across his breast. Mrs. Handford also came out 
and saw the apparition. After awhile the figure vanished, and in its 
place appeared a large ship, fully rigged and with all sails set, appar- 
ently in motion, though retaining the same position. It was seen as 
plainly as a ship was ever seen in the harbor, and was to their imagi- 
nation, the handsomest craft that they ever saw. It had a high majestic 
bow, heading southwardly, with a black hull, white sails, and a long 
and beautiful streamer floating from the top of the mainmast. This 
was plainly visible for some time. After awhile the people went into 
their houses though the image still remained in the cloud. On com- 
ing out again after a short time it was not to be seen, the cloud had 

(27) 



28 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

also gone and the sky was clear. Many reliable people in the town 
saw the apparition, and all agree that tha above statement is true ; but 
what it was, and how it can be accounted for is still unknown. We 
merely record the facts, believing we ought to do so whether we can 
account for the strange appearance or not. 

This brings to the mind of the writer a tradition in his family of a 
similar, but more astounding exhibition in the clouds. There ap- 
peared in the heavens two magnificent men-of-war, which slowly and 
steadily approached until they came comparatively near each other 
when flames simultaneously burst from their port- holes, and the sound 
of cannon was heard. The bright flashes followed by sharp reports 
continued for several minutes, and the vessels vanished. We believe 
it was said that this battle in the clouds occurred just before one of 
the wars of this country, but which one we have forgotten. The inci- 
dent might be explained by the presence of heat or flash lightning ac- 
companied by distant thunder and clouds containing forms like ships. 



CHAPTER IX. 
The Dark Day 0/1716, 

THE list of dark days in New England must begin with that of 
Sunday, Octcber 21, 1716. The people were gathered in their 
respective houses of worship, when about eleven o'clock in the 
forenoon, the outlines of things about them lost their distinctness. It 
soon became so dark that the members of the congregations could not 
recognize each other across the small meeting houses of those days, and 
shortly after the forms of the people could not be seen except by look- 
ing at them toward a window. A writer says that " one could not 
recognize another four seats away, nor read a word in a psalm book." 
Some ministers sent to the neighboring houses for candles, unwilling 
that anything of this kind, preternatural though it might be, should 
interrupt the services. Others, believing it would soon pass away, sat 
down and waited. Some were ready to believe that the darkness of 
the last day was settling like a pall over nature before its dissolution. 
In fact, all people were in a state of more or less excitement. 

The darkness continued about half an hour, and when it grew light 
enough the waiting clergymen rose and finished the services. The 
people gathered at the close of the meeting, and discussed the prob- 
able cause and meaning of what seemed to be a supernatural occur- 
rence. The air had been more or less murky for several days, being, 
as a writer of that time said, "very full of smoke." It descended near 
the earth constantly, when the wind was from the southwest. On this 
Sunday dark clouds of smoke had passed over ; and it was thought that 
the wind, which had changed to the eastward, had brought the smoke 
back again in a dense body, thus darkening the land. That was the 
explanation accepted at the time by many of the people, while others 
believed to the end of their lives that it could not be explained. 
Mather deemed the occurrence of sufficient importance to send an 

(29) 



30 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

account of it to the Royal Philosophical Society in England, wh 
soon after published it in its Transactions. This dark day was pr 
ably surpassed only by the famous May day of 1 780, of which 
have very full accounts. When we consider how much more suj 
stitious the people were seventy years before, we can in some deg 
imagine their thoughts and feelings. Darkness always produce 
peculiar feeling, probably from its dampness , and the mystery wh 
seems to be involved in it. Unnatural darkness, or what seems to 
such, certainly produces a wierd and gloomy feeling, which wo 
turn a superstitious mind into channels of fear and alarm. 



CHAPTER X. 

The Winter of jyi6-jyi7. 

IN December, 1716, snow fell to the depth of five feet, rendering 
travelling very difficult, and almost impossible except on snow 
shoes. The temperature throughout the winter was moderate, but 
the amount of snow that fell that season has never been equalled in 
New England during the three centuries of her history. 

Snow fell in considerable quantities several times during the month 
of January, and on February 6 it lay in drifts in some places twenty- 
five feet deep; and in the woods a yard or more on the level. Cotton 
Mather said that the people were overwhelmed with snow. 

The great storm began on February 18, and continued piling its 
flakes upon the already covered earth until the twenty-second ; being 
repeated on the twenty-fourth so violently that all communication 
between houses and farms ceased. Down came the flakes of feathery 
lightness, until 

" the whited air 

Hides hills and woods, the river and the heaven. 
And veils the farmhouse," 

within whose walls, 

*' • . all friends shut out, the housemates sit 
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed 
In a tumultuous privacy of storm." 

Whittier, in his "Snow Bound," has pleasingly described the coming 
of the snow in the country. The east wind brought to the settlers 
the roar of the ocean roHing up on its frozen shore ; as night came on, 
the chilly air and darkened sky gave signs of the coming storm ; and 
soon the blinding snow filled the air. 

(31) 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

"Meanwhile we did out nightly chores, — 
Brought in the wood from oul of doors, 
Littered the stalls, aod rtom the mows 
Ralied down the herd's-grass for the cows; 
Heard the horse whinnying for his corn; 
And, sharply clashing horn on horn, 
Imp3tient down the stanchion rows 
The cattle shake their walnut bows; 
While peering ftnin his early perch 
Upon the scaffold's pole of birch, 
The cock his crested helmet bent. 
And down his querulous challenge sent. 

"Unwarnied by any sunset light, 
The gray day darkened into night, 
A night made hoary -with the swarm 
And whirl-dance of the bUiiding storm. 
As ligiag wavering to and fro 
Crossed and recrossed the wing£d snow; 
And ere Che early bedtime came 
The white drift piled the window frame. 
And through the glass the clothes-line posts 
Looked in like tall and sheeted ghosts. 

"So all night long the storm roared on ; 
The morning broke without a sun; 
In tiny spherule traced with lines 
or Nature's geometric signs, 
In starry flake and pellicle, 
All day the hoary meteor fell; 
And, when the second morning shone. 
We looked upon a world unknown, 
On nathing we could call our own. 
Around the glistening wonder bent 
The blue walls of the firmament. 
No cloud above, no earth below, — 
A universe of sky and snow 1 
The old familiar sights of ours 
Took marvellous shapes : strange domes and toi 
Rose up where sty or corn-crib stood. 
Or garden wall, or belt of wood ; 
A smooth white mound the brush pile showed, 
A fenceless drift what once was road; 
The bridge post an old man sat 
With looae-flung coat and high cocked hat ; 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 33 

The well-curb had a Chinese roof, 
And even the long sweep, high aloof. 
In its slant splendor, seeniied to tell. 
Of Pisa's leaning miracle.** 

During the storm enough snow fell to bury the earth to the depth 
of from ten to fifteen feet on the level, and in some places for long 
distances it was twenty feet deep. The twenty- fourth was Sunday, and 
the storm was so fierce and the snow came in such quantities that no 
religious meetings were held throughout New England. 

"No church-bell lent its Christian tone 
To the savage air, no social smoke 
Curled over woods of snow -hung oak. 
A solitude made more intense 
By dreary voic6d elements, 
The shrieking of the mindless wind. 
The moaning tree-tops swaying blind. 
And on the glass the unmeaning beat 
Of ghostly finger-tips of sleet. 
Beyond the circle of our hearth 
No welcome sound of toil or mirth 
Unbound the spell, and testified 
Of human life and thought outside. 
We minded that the sharpest ear 
The buried brooklet could not hear. 
The music of whose liquid lip 
Had been to us companionship. 
And, in our lonely life had grown 
To have an almost human tone." 

Indians, who were almost a hundred years old, said that they had 
never heard their fathers tell of any storm that equalled this. 

Many cattle were buried in the snow, where they were smothered 
or starved to death. Some were found dead weeks after the snow had 
melted, yet standing and with all the appearance of life. The eyes 
of many were so glazed with ice that being near the sea they wandered 
into the water and were drowned. On the farms of one gentleman 
upwards of eleven hundred sheep were lost in the snow. Twenty- 
eight days after the storm, while the search for them was still in pro- 
gress, more than a hundred were found huddled together, apparently 
having found a sheltered place on the lee side of a drift, where they 
were slowly buried as the storm raged on, being covered with snow 
3 



34 HISTORIC STOG^klS OF NEW ENGLAND. ^^^^H 

until they ]iy sixteen feet beneath the surface. Two of the sheep 
were alive, having subsisteil during the four weeks of their entomb- 
ment by feeding on the wool of their companions. When rescued 
they shed their fleeces, but the wool grew again and they were brought 
back to a good degree of flesh. An instance of a similar nature oc- 
curred the present winter {1890-91) in Pennsylvania, where duringa 
snow storm three sheep were buried in a hollow twenty feet under a 
drift. After twelve days had elapsed, they were discovered, and shov- 
eled out, all being alive. They had not a particle of wool on themy 
hunger having driven them to eat it entirely off each others' backs. 
With proper care they were restored to their usual condition. 

Otlier animals also lived during several weeks' imprisonment under 
the snow. A couple of hogs were lost, and all hope of finding them 
alive was gone, when on the twenty-seventh day after the storm they 
worked their way out of the snow bank in which they had been buried, 
having s\ibsisted on a little tansy, which they had found under the 
snow. Poultry also survived several days' burial, hens being found 
alive after seven daj's, and turkeys from five to twenty. These were 
buried in the snow some distance above the ground, so that they could 
obtain no food whatever. 

The wild animals which were common in the forests of New Eng- 
land at this period were robbed of their means of subsistence, and 
they became desperate in their cravings of hunger. Browsingfor deer 
was scarce, the succulent shrubs being buried beneath the snow, and 
when evening came on those in the forests near the sea-coast started 
for the shore, where instinct had taught thera that they would be likely 
to find more food. Another, and a greater reason, perhaps, was, that 
there were other starving animals in the woods beside them-elves of 
which they were afraid. Bears and wolves were numerous then, and 
as soon as night fell, in their ravenous state tiiey followed the deer in 
droves into the clearings, at length pouncing upon them. In this way 
vast numbers of these valuable animals were killed, torn in pieces, and 
devoured by their fierce enemies. It was estimated that nineteen out 
of every twenty deer were thus destroyed. They were so scarce after 
this time that officers called deer-reeves were chosen in each town to 
attend to their preservation. These offtcers were annually elected 
until the country had become so densely populated that the deer had 
disappeared and there was nottiing for them to do. 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 35 

Bears, wolves and foxes were nightly visitors to the sheep pens of 
the farmers. Cotton Mather states that many ewes, which were about 
to give birth to young, were so frightened at the assaults of these ani- 
mals that most of the lambs born the next spring were of the color 
of foxes, the dams being either white or black. Vast multitudes of 
sparrows also came into the settlements after the storm was over, but 
remained only a short time, returning to the woods as soon as they 
were able to find food there. 

The sea was greatly disturbed, and the marine animal life was in a 
state of considerable excitement. After the storm ceased, vast quan- 
tities of small sea shells were washed on shore in places where they 
had never been found before ; and in the harbors great numbers of 
porpoises were seen playing together in the water. 

The carriers of the mails, who were in that period called "post 
boys," were greatly hindered in the performance of their duties by the 
deep snow. Leading out from Boston there were three post roads, 
and as late as March 4 there was no travelling, the ways being still 
impassable, and the mail was not expected, though it was then a week 
late. March 25 the "post" was travelling on snow shoes, the carrier 
between Salem, Mass., and Portsmouth, N. H., being nine days in 
making his trip to Portsmouth and eight days in returning, the two 
towns being about forty miles apart. In the woods he found the snow 
five feet deep, and in places it measured from six to fourteen feet. 

Much damage was done to orchards, the snow being above tlie tops 
of many of the trees, and when it froze forming a crust around the 
boughs, it broke most of them to pieces. The crust was so hard and 
strong that cattle walked hither and thither upon it, and browsed the 
tender twigs of the trees, injuring them severely. 

Many a one-story house was entirely covered by the snow, and even 
the chimneys in some instances could not be seen. Paths were dug 
under the snow from house to barn, to enable the farmers to care for 
their animals, and tunnels also led from house to house among the 
neighbors if not too far apart. Snow shoes were of course brought 
into requisition, and many trips were made by their aid. Stepping 
out of a chamber window some of the people ventured over the hills 
of snow. *'Love laughs at locksmiths," and of course, says Coffin, in 
his History of Newbury, Mass., will disregard a snow-drift. A young 
man of that town by the name of Abraham Adams was paying his at- 



36 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

tention to Miss Abigail Pierce, a young lady of the same place, who 
lived three miles away. A week had elapsed since the storm, and the 
swain concluded that he must visit his lady. Mounting his snow- 
shoes he made his way out of ihe house through a chamber window, | 
and proceeded on his trip over the deep, snow-packed valley and huge \ 
drifts among tlie hills beyond. He reached her residence, and en- 
tered it, as he had left his own, byway of a chamber window. Besides ' 
its own members, he was the first person the family had seen since the 
storm, and his visit was certainly much appreciated, | 

In the thinly settled portions of tile coimtry great privation and j 
distress were caused by the imprisonment of many families, and the | 
discontinuance of their communication with their neighbors. Among 
the inhabitants of Medford, Mass., was a widow, with several children, 
who lived in a one-story house on the road to Charlestown. Her 
house was so deeply buried that it could not be found for severaldays. 
At length smoke was seen issuing from a snow-bank, and by that 
means its location was ascertained. Tlie neighbors came with shovels, 
and made a passage to a window, through wliich they could gain ad- 
mission. They entered and found that the widow's small stock of 
fuel was exhausted, and that she had burned some of the furniture to 
keep her little ones from suffering with the cold. This was but one of 
many incidents that occurred of a similar character. 



CHAPTER XL 
Wreck of the Pirate Ship Whidah. 

THE winter of 1717-18 was acknowledged to be unusually cold, 
and the spring which followed was late, windy and uncomforta- 
ble. On Saturday, April 26, a violent easterly storm prevailed 
along the coast of Massachusetts. It was made memorable on ac- 
count of the wreck of the notorious pirate ship Whidah. The com- 
mander of it was that infamous leader among freebooters, Samuel 
Bellamy, stories of whose brutal cruelty and daring exploits were of- 
ten told about the firesides of the people here, a century and a half 
ago. The Whidah carried twenty-three guns and was manned by one 
hundred and thirty men. 

The pirates had made a visit to this section of the Atlantic coast, 
and had succeeded in capturing seven vessels, to one of which Bel- 
lamy transferred seven of his crew to sail the craft and guard the cap- 
tive mariners who were imprisoned on their own vessel. The pirates 
in charge of the prize became drunken, and being at last overcome 
with drowsiness lay down and went to sleep. The rightful possessors 
of the ship, in the storm which almost immediately followed, permitted 
the vessel to be driven ashore on the back of Cape Cod near Truro. 
The pirates escaped when the' vessel touched the sand, the attention ol 
the ship's crew being entirely taken up with securing their own safety ; 
but they were soon afterward apprehended, tried, convicted and exe- 
cuted. 

Bellamy's own vessel was driven ashore near the table-land on the 
outside of Wellfleet, on Cape Cod, a few miles from Truro, and broken 
to pieces by the waves. The wind was so strong and the waves were 
so great and powerful that the sea forced its way across the Cape, 
which was very narrow at this place, creating a channel so large that 
a whale boat passed through it at the time. 

Great numbers of the pirates were drowned ; Captain Southack, 
who was sent by the government to the scene of the disaster for that 

(37) 



38 HISTORIC STORMS OP NEW ENGLAND. ^^^^1 

purpose, finding and burying one hundred and two bodies that had ' 
washed ashore. Several of the pirates escaped, but whether their 
captain reached the shore in safety, or was drowned, is not known to 
the writer. Six of them were arrested and tried by a special court of 
admiralty, and being convicted were executed on the gallows at Bos- 
ton on the fifteenth of November following. 

Among the pirates that escaped were an Indian and an English- 
man. The latter disguised himself and visited the place of the ship- 
wreck from time to time for the purpose of replenishing his purse with 
money from the wreck. This was currently reported and believed by 
the residents of the neighborhood. Within a few years, pennies, 
bearing inscriptions which show that they were struck off in the reign , 
of William and Mary, iiave been picked up there, and the celebrated 
Thoreau and William DeCosta of the Charlesiown Advertiser, fre- 
quenters of those haunts years ago, found some on the bar at very low 
tide. 

As late as 1814, almost a century after the wreck occurred, por- ^ 
tions of the vessel were seen reposing on the white sand at the hot- ' 
torn of the still and clear waters. 

Uncle Jack Newcomb, as he was familiarly called, an oysterman of 
Wellfleet years ago, told Thoreau that iie had seen the iron caboose of 
the ship on the bar at an extreme low run of tides. About 1S63, 
the wreck was again disclosed by the action of the sea. 

A story has come down by tradition, being to some extent identi- 
cal with that of the Englishman, which is told as follows : A man of 
peculiar aspect, who was supposed to have been one of the'pirates, 
often visited the vicinity of the wreck, the residents generally believ- j 
ing that lie at least knew of some place there where treasure was hid, 1 
and that lie came hither for supplies as his necessities demanded. 
While there the hospitality of a private family was extended to and 
accepted by him. When the Bible was to be read aloud or prayer of- I 
fered, he excused himself from being present, seeming to be greatly "j 
troubled. In the stillness of night he would talk in his sleep, and 
utter boisterous and profane speeches, as though quarreling or con- . 
tendingwith some foe. Afterawhilehespentrauchof his timethere, ] 
and his last days were wholly devoted to walking meditatively on the 1 
beach, seeming to have but little interest in common with the people 1 
about him. Considerable gold was said to have been carried in a 
money belt, which was found upon his body after death. 



CHAPTER XII. 
The Aurora Borealis in ijig. 



I 

1 
perl 

K 



THE northern lights, as they are called, fir^t attracted the atten- 
tion of the people of New England in March, 1718, and there 
was a general fear that dire calamities would result therefrom. 
L May ig, 1 719, the more beautiful and brilliant aurora borealis was first 
I observed here as far as any record or tradition of that period informs 
Bs, and it is said that in England it was first noticed only three years 
before this date. In December of the same year the aurora again 
appeared, and the people became greatly alarmed, not dreading it so 
much as a means of destruction but as a precursor of the fires of the 
■last great day and a sign of coming dangers. Just before eight 
o'clock in the evening of Saturday, the eleventh' of the month, the 
moon being within one or two days of the full, the aurora flamed up 
in the northern heavens wiih remarkable brilliancy, until that entire 
section of the firmament seemed to be on fire. Stephen Jaques of 
Newbury, Mass., wrote in his journal at the time that a white " rain- 
bow" appeared in the northern sky, reaching from the northwest to 
the northeast, and nearly straight in the middle, the curve being im- 
perfect. It was apparently about eight feet wide, Jaques continues, 
ibled a cloud. Then there appeared iu the north very red 
douds, which seemed to fly up almost to the zenith, as if driven by a 
, swift wind. They then parted toward the east and vanished. The 
remained an hour or two, the people distinctly liearing the cor- 
tion, which, in the language of a writer of that time, "rustled like 
silken banner." Later, in the same evening, between ten and eleven 
o'clock, from the northwest came a cloud resembling a mist, through 
which the stars could be seen, its color being deep crimson. The 
next year other luminous appearances in the evening sky occurred. 




'Letri*, in his Hietorr Dl'Ljnn, Mass. 



sajat 



it It o< 



□ Uiei 



enUi. 



40 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 



Though at first the people were fearful for the consequences of such 
sights, the feeling wore off as they became more frequent and it was 
found that they were without any apparent effect upon the world. 

They have now become siglits of curiosity merely to most people, 
who, while they cannot fiilly explain them, know that tiiey portend no 
evil [ though many have ever -since those early times been more or 
less concerned when any strange cloud appears. 

Dr. Edward A. Holyoke of Salem, Mass., wrote the following in his 
diary under date of December ag, 1736 ; "The first aurora borealis 1 
I ever saw. The northern sky appeared suffused with a dark blood-red 
colored vapor, without any variety of different colored rays. I have 
never seen the like." The appearance of which he wrote was that 
which was supposed to have reference to the terrible throat distempw 
which carried off so many hundreds of children throughout New 
England at that period. jList before our war with Mexico occurred, 
the red aurora appeared in its deepest color, and many that looked 
upon it still believe that it was a forerunner of the bloody conflict. 



CHAPTER XIII. 
The Storm of February 24^ JJ22-23, 

ON Sunday, February 24, 1722-23, occurred a great storm, which 
brought in the tide so high that it has been rarely if ever equalled 
in New England. The wind was strong and from the north- 
east, which blowing at the time of a very high tide was probably the 
cause of this flood, which was at Dorchester, Mass., only excelled by 
that of April, 1852. It was most severe in those parts where the coast 
lines ran north and south as on the Massachusetts and New Hamp- 
shire shores, though in Rhode Island several wharves were broken to 
pieces and carried away, cellars and warehouses inundated, and more 
damage done than had occurred from a similar cause for nineteen 
years. At Boston "some hail accompanied the rain. 

Cape Cod felt the storm very severely. On the southeast side, at 
Chatham, a fine harbor had some years before been made by a storm, 
banks of sand being thrown up as a protection. Over these ridges of 
sand, the wind now forced the waters, the marshes became overflowed, 
and a great many stacks of hay were lifted by the water from the 
staddles on which they stood, and floated away, much fodder for cattle 
being thus destroyed. A great many acres of marsh were damaged, 
and much of it ruined for future production of grass by being plowed 
and torn by the raging waters, or covered with sand from the beach. 

On the inside of the Cape, the tide rose four feet, and outside, it 
was said, from ten to twelve feet higher than was ever known before. 
At Plymouth, it was from three to four feet above the highest water- 
marks then known there. 

The News-Letter of that time said that the inundation in Boston 
"looked very dreadful." Damage had resulted from extremely high 
tides there in former years, but this one rose until it was twenty inches 
higher than any had been known to rise before. In the morning of 
the day of the storm the tide had risen even with the tops of the 

(41) 



wharves, and slowly came above the timbers, but not anticipating a 
serious result, people went to the morning services in their several 
churches. While the preachers were dwelling on the sixteenthlies and 
seventeenthlies of their sermons the water came higher and higher 
above the wharves, flowing into the streets and cellars, and covering 
the floors of the lower rooms of the dwellings and warehouses along 
the more exposed streets of the town. Meanwhile ihe people in the 
churches, — and most of the inhabitants attended church in those days, 
— were listening to tlie words of their respective pastors, being wholly 
miconscious of the inundation and the great damage that was being ■ 
done to many of their houses and to their furniture and provisions, and 
of the loss of goods in their stores and warehouses. A great deal of 
fauh was justly found with people who knew of the condition of things 
because they did not give due notice of it to the owners of the prop- 
erty which was being injured or lost by the flood. In the middle of 
Union street the water rose as far as the site of the house in which Mr. 
Hunt lived. It came two or three feet above Long wharf, and flowed " 
into the nearest streets to such a height that a boat could be sailed^ 
from the south battery to the more elevated part of King street, as it" 
was then called, and from thence to the hill on which the North 
church stood. The loss and dam.age done in Boston was very great. 

In the vicinity of Salem, the tide flowed back in places for several. 
miles, and instances occurred in which people were compelled to seek 
safety in trees. 

At Gloucester it was unusually high, and the storm was so violent 
that the wind and water forced the sand into the "cut," again filling it 
up. 

At Hampton, N, H., the storm caused the great waves of the full sea'i 
to break over its natural banks for miles together, and the ocean con- 
tinued to pour its waters over them for several hours. 

The tide was also very high at Piscataqua and Falmouth, doing much 
damage to whan es and to articles stored in cellars and warehouses. 



i 




Earthquake of iy2j. 

THE greatest earthquake that New England has probably expe- 
rienced since its settlement by tlie English occurred October 
21), 1727. The people had suffered much in various ways 
through the summer and early autumn, A drought continued from 
the middle of June to the middle of September, the month of July and 
the first week in August being exceedingly hot. No rain fell in April 
after the first week, and but twice in May, only one or two slight 
showers occurring during the sultry, parching heat of the summer. 
The earth dried to a great depth, and many wells and springs, which 
had never failed before were now dry. There was much lightning and 
thunder, but very little rain. On the evening of August 1, at the close 
of a scorching day, the heavens burst out into a blaze of flame and 
a roar of thunder, the terrific display continuing for two or three hours. 
The flashes occurred so frequently that the sky was continually light 
with them, and a writer of that time said it seemed "as if the heavens 
being on fire were dissolving and passing away with a great noise, and 
the earth also with its works was lobe burned up." 

After the drought was broken a violent northeast stomi came on, 
doing much damage among the vessels along the coast, and the trees 
on shore. This occurred September 1 6. It caused a high tide which 
carried away about two hundied loads of hay from the marshes at 
Newbury, Mass., and drove eight or nine vessels ashore at Salem and 
Ihirty-five at Marblehead, 

After the lightning, thunder, and tempest the country was visited by 
a tremendous earthquake. October 24, 1727, the weather was very 
cold; three days later, snow fell, and on the a8th the temperature was 
still exceedingly low for the season. Sunday, the 29th, was fair and 
pleasant, and in the evening the moon shone brightly, the air was calm, 
and no noise disturbed the peacefulness of nature. People retired at 

(43) 



44 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

their usual hour, and were fast asleep, when at twenty minutes before 
eleven o'clock a terrible noise followed by a roar and a rush suddealy ' 
woke them, and in about half a minute, before they had time t 
become conscious of what was taking place around them, there 
came a pounce as if gigantic cannons had rolled against each other 
from opposite directions. Ij.tches leaped up and doors flew open, 
houses rocked and trembled as though they would collapse, timbers 
worked in and out of mortises, hearth-stones grated against each 
other, windows rattled, tops of chimneys pitched and tumbled down, 
cellar walls fell in, beds shook, pewter fell off shelves, lids of warming 
pans jumped up and fell back with a clang, and all movable things, eS'' 
pecially in the upper rooms, tossed about. 

Most people got up in a moment, and many of them ran out of doors 
in their night clothes, being so frightened that they knew not what to. 
do. Tlie earlh shook so much that they could not stand, and w 
compelled to sit or recline on the ground. 

People that were awake when the earthquake came said that a flaslS 
of light preceded it. It was seen as it passed the windows, and ablazft 
seemed to run along the ground, dogs that saiv it giving a sudden barlj 
as if frightened. Before they had tirae to consider the source or causfi 
of the light a sound like a gentle murmur floated to them on the stili; 
evening air, followed by a slight ruffling wind. Then came a rumbling ■ 
as of distant thunder, which approached nearer and nearer and grew 
louder and louder till it sounded as if innumerable heavy carriages 
were being rapidly driven over pavements, or like the roaring of a great 
furnace, but incomparably fiercer and more terrible, having a hollow J 
sound as if it came from under the earlh. Then the shock camesud-| 
denly and severely and the houses were felt to totter and reel with th* 
trembling and heaving of the ground. 

The noise and shake came from the northwest, and went ii 
easterly direction. The whole disturbance occurred within the spaof 
of two minutes of time. 

The cattle ran bellowing about the fields, being thoroughly frighteneffl 
at this sudden and fearful commotion in the still hours of night, Thqj 
acted as though suffering from the greatest distress. 

At eleven o'clock another shock came, less effective and quieter thi 
the first, but heavy enough to keep the people in a state of fear, 
a quarter before twelve another came, and many of the people would 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 43 

rot return to their beds, but dressed, and prepared to stay up the re- 
mainder of the night, being very uncertain as to what might occur be- 
fore morning came, and apprehending destruction. At Londonderry, 
N. H., when the paslor of the town, Rev. Mr. MacGregor, became 
aware of what was occurring around him, his Scottish heart being full 
of sympathy for the people of liis charge, be at once arose, dressed, 
and started out. He was met by some one with the reminder that his 
family would need bis presence. ''Oh !" said he, "'I have a still greater 
family which I must care for." He hastened toward their houses, but 
had not gone far before he met large numbers of them flocking to his 
own dwelling, seeking advice and comfort in the trying and dreadful 
hour. At Salem, Mass., the people sat up nearly all night; and at 
Rowley they flocked to the house of Rev. Edward Payson, the minis- 
ter of the towTi, as if he were able to succor tliem from pending harm ; 
but the house being too small to hold so large a number, the meeting 
house was opened at that midnight hour, and there the remainder of 
the night was spent in prayer and supplication. Rev. Benjamin Col- 
man of Boston wrote the next day that he and his family arose, and 
did not retire until two o'clock in the morning, spending the time in 
humble cries to God for themselves and their neighbors and in fervent 
praises to him for their preservation. 

The shocks were repeated at three and five o'clock, but with abated 
force, and in due time the sun slowly rose in the eastern sky, greeting 
with a complacent face the disconsolate and fearfUl inhabitants. It 
was a night never to be forgotten by those who experienced it. 

In the towns along the Merriraac river the earthquake was felt more 
severely than in any other section of New England. A vast deal of 
stone wall was thrown down in addition to those injuries which oc- 
1 curred generally in New England. The geological formation that 
I forms the bed of the river is of the primary order, which would nat- 
nrally be affected more by an internal shock than if it were of a later 
origin. 

An incident worthy of record occurred on the island of Newcastle, 
near Portsmouth, N, H. At the hour of midnight, on the very quiet 
night of the earthquake, when the people were trembling with fear, 
the silvery voice of the bell of the old church there pealed forth firom 
the belfry. This heightened the feelings of the people, and to the 
ignorant it seemed to be a knel! rung forth by mystic hands. To 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 



46 

the more plileginatic citizens it was but the result of the shaking of the| 
church by natural means ; yet the surroundings, the time, and theJ 
dreadful commotion could not fail to impress them with a solemn^ 
dread. 

At Cape Cod Ihb shock was felt much more than that of 163S. At J 
Dorchester, Mass., the noise seemed to come from the Blue motia-l 
lains, which some people, who were out of doors when the shock came,.] 
supposed to have suddenly sunk. At Rowley, tops of many chimney J 
were thrown down ; at Portsmouth, N. H., several were cracked and J 
others shattered, and the greater portion of Newbury, Mass., si 
in the same manner. In the latter place the chimneys of Mr. ] 
and Mr. Toppan are particularly mentioned as having fallen, and th 
door-stone of Benjamin Plummer felt into the cellar. 

Brick houses were much cracked and in many places considerablff 
shattered. But the principal damage consisted in the breaking 1 
dishes and injuries to tops of chimneys, in many cases 
only being knocked off, thougli in others the chimneys we 
as to make it necessary to rebuild them. Not a wooden house ■ 
broken nor a person or animal injured. 

The islands off the coast were shaken as ranch as the mainland, and 
;r of the ocean was in a state of great commotion, its roar be- 
ing much louder than usual. Mr. Carr, in his time a prominent boat- 
builder of Nantucket, ran out of the house when the eartiiquake came, 
jumped into his boat, and rowed out on the boisterous waves, being 
afraid that the island would sink. Seamen who were upon the coast 
said that it seemed as if their vessels had suddenly struck upon a sand 

The earthquake had considerable effect upon the character of land, 
springs and wells. Some upland was changed into quagmire and in 
a few instances marsh land was raised ujj, being afterward too dry for 
; grass to grow upon it. In the meadow near the house 
then owned and occupied by Samuel Bartlelt at Newbury, Mass., a 
newspring of water was opened. At Hampton, N. H., a spring which 
had boiled over ever since it was first known, a period of eighty years, 
having never frozen, was so affected that the water failed to rise to the 
surface of the ground, and afterward froze in moderate weather. The 
water of some wells was improved in quality, while in others it was 
made permanently impure. Some became dry, and the temperature 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 47 

of several was greatly changed. There has been related an instance 
of a well thirty-six feet deep being affected by the earthquake. The 
water in it had always been very sweet and pure, but about three days 
before the shock the owner was surprised to find that it smelled so 
badly no use could be made of it ; and that its odor so permeated 
the rooms into which it was brought thai in a very few minutes' time 
it became unbearable. It was thought that some carrion had got into 
the well, but on a thorough examination it was found to be free from 
everything that was offensive, though the water was of a chalky color. 
It continued in this condition for seven days after the earthquake, and 
then cominenced to change for ihe better, wholly resuming its original 
sweetness and appearance after the lapse of three more days. 

Remembering that cities and other places had been swallowed by 
the action of earthquakes, some people in New England were alarmed 
lest they might be destined to such an end. There was indeed some 
foundation for such an idea, for chasms a foot or more in width were 
opened at some places, as at Newbury, Mass., where there were more 
than ten in the low clay ground, fine white sand and ashes being forced 
up through them in varying quantities. In one place near Spring isl- 
and in that town were thrown up from sLxteen to twenty loads of sand 
with some slight indications of sulphur. By throwing some of the 
sand on hot coals in a dark room blue sulphurous flames and a slight 
odor of brimstone were detected. In another place near the same 
island, about forty or fifty rods from the residence of Henry Sewail, 
Ihe ground opened, and for several days water boiled out of the crev- 
ice like a spring. Witiiin three weeks it became dry, and the earth 
closed. 

The people of New England were affected by this earthquake as 
ihey had never been before, Ijeing fearful of divine judgments for their 
sins and lax responsiveness to the call to religious duties. The clergy 
taught them that it was "a loud call to the whole land to repent and fear 
and give glory to God." The nest morning great numbers of the in- 
habitants of Boston gathered at the old North church for prayer and 
other religious services. The fear of further immediate danger was 
somewhat dispelled in the pleasant sunlight, but as soon as the sun 
had set their fright returned, and in greater numbers than in the morn- 
ing the people crowded to the old Brick church, which could not hold 
them. The old South was then opened, and those who failed of admis- 



48 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. ^^^^| 

sion to the Brick church flocked thither, and that was also filled. Rev. 
Thomas Paine of Weymouth, Mass., and some other ministers, tried to 
prove to their congregations that the earthquake had not a natural 
cause, but was a supernatural token of God's anger to the sinful world. 

The selectmen of Medford, Mass., appointed the next Wednesday 
as a day to be observed by fasting and prayer on account of the earth- 
quake ; and Lieutenant-governor Dummer recommended that Thurs- 
day should be kept in the same way for the same purpose throughout 
the province. Many sermons delivered on the latter and other days 
were printed and are still extant. In Salem, Mass., a meeting was 
held on Saturday at the upper meeting-house (then so called) which 
was attended by the largest congregation that was ever in that edifice. 

The clergy improved the opportunity of leading the public mind 
toward the choice of a better portion than this earth can afford. The 
' people were willing to be taught, and ready to believe, for the event 
they had just passed tlirough convinced them of the uncertainty of 
temporal things, and a needed preparation for the life to come. Many 
who had before cared nothing for a religious life became penitent and 
devout. Seriousness was the expression on the faces of most of the 
people, and in some towns, large numbers were added to the church. 
In the parish of Chebacco in Ipswich, Mass., for instance, seventy- 
six persons became church members. The earthquake had its effect 
upon some licentious characters, who became truly reformed, and after- 
ward led honorable and moral lives. But, in too many cases, when 
their fears were gone, the religious thoughts and habits of the people 
lost their hold upon tiiem. 

Shocks of the earthquake continued at inten-als through the follow- 
ing week, and from time to time during November and December, 
growing less and less in force. The great one was felt in New York 
and Pennsylvania, and it extended all along the coast to the Gulf of 
Mexico, doing considerable damage in the West India islands. 

This, unlike the earthquake of 1 755, was not preceded by great con- 
vulsions in other portions of the globe ; and up to that time ic was the 
se verest one ever known in New England. 




i 



^ CHAPTER XV. 

The Winter of 1740-41. 

THE summer of 1 740 was cool and wet. An early frost injured 
much 'of the com crop, and the long season of rain which fol- 
lowed hindered its ripening. One-third of it was cut when 
green, and the rest was so wet that it very soon molded. There was> 
therefore, very little seed com in New England for the next spring's 
planting, and the amount of dry com for the winter's consumption 
was also small. The rain of the summer and fall flooded the low- 
lands of the country everywhere. 

The rivers of Salem, Mass., were frozen over as early as October, 
and November 4th the weather became very cold. In that year the 
thirteenth of November was observed as Thanksgiving day. It was 
then severely cold, and all that day snow fell, continuing until the 
fifteenth, when in Essex County, Mass., it measured a foot in depth. 

The weather remained cold until about the twenty -second, when its 
rigor relaxed, and a thaw, accompanied by rain, came on. The rain 
continued to fall for nearly three weeks, during the day only, the 
stars shining brightly each evening, but the morning following, rain 
would be falling again as energetically as ever. The snow melted, 
and a freshet 9ccurred in the Merrimac river, nothing like it having 
been experienced there for seventy years. At Haverhill, the stream 
rose fifteen feet, and many houses were floated off. In that part ot 
Newbury, which was afterwards incorporated as West Newbury, was a 
piece of lowland at Turkey hill, known as Rawson's meadow, which 
was covered with water to the depth of twelve feet. In another part 
of Newbury between the mill and the residence of a Mr. Emery, a 
sloop could have sailed. The freshet carried away great quantities ot 
wood, which was piled along the banks of the river, and from the ship- 
yards located in that part of Newbury now included in tlie city 01 

4 (49) 



50 HHTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

Newburyport considerable limber tliat was lying ready to be formed 
into vessels was also floated dawn t!ie harbor, much of both wood and 
timber being lost. To save as much of it as possible, the dwellers on 
the shores of the river turned out, and for fourteen days worked from 
the banks and in boats, securing large piles which were scattered for 
miles on both sides of the river and the harbor. It was estimated that 
two thousand cords of wood were also saved at Plum Island. 

The freshet was also very disastrous at Falmouth. On the twenty- 
first of the month the Rev. Thomas Smith of that town says, in his 
diary, that he rode to Saco, where he lodged with his father. He was 
there forced out of his lodgings "by vast quantities of ice, which jambed 
and raised the water eighteen inches higher" than his bedstead. 

Plum Island river was frozen over on December twelfth, and re- 
mained so until the end of March. The Merriraac river was also 
closed by the extreme cold, which continued so severe that the ice 
very soon became thick enough to sup[jort teams, and before the end 
of the month the river became a gi'eat thoroughfare. Loaded sleds 
drawn by two, three or four yoke of oxen came from the towns up the 
river, and landed below the upper long wharf near where the ferry was 
then located in Newbury. From twenty to forty such teams passed 
down the river daily from Amesbury and Haverhill, and people trav- 
elled down the harbor as far as half-tide rock. On February 28, for 
the purpose of ascertaining the thickness of the ice in the MerrimaCj 
Wells Chase cut a hole through it at Deer Island where the current 
■ran swiftest and found it to measure thirty inches, although people had 
constantly sledded over it for two months. No one then living had 
ever heard of the river freezing so hard before. 

As far south as New York, the harbors were so frozen thai vessels 
I could not come into them, and those already in were, compelled to 
remain until a thaw should come to their release. The sea was also 
very much frozen, and people travelled out long distances. In Bos- 
ton harbor, a beaten road through the snow was kept open on the ice 
as far out as Castle William. Over this cuurse horses and sleighs, and 
people on foot continually passed up and down, and on the way two 
tents for the sale of refreshments stood invitingly open. Loads of hay 
on sleds were drawn nearly straight from Spectacle Island to the town. 

The ice formed so solidly around some mills that they could not be 
operated, as at Byfield parish in Newbury, where Pearson's mill wa» 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 5 1 

Stopped from February 3 to March 31, and the people of Newbury 
had to go to Salisbury to get their meagre grists of corn ground. 

The reign of cold seemed to be broken on January 10, when the 
weather moderated and a thaw began ; but it continued only three 
days, and the low temperature was resumed. 

Not only was the winter severe in temperature, but great snows came 
until, in the estimation of the people then living, taking it as a whole, 
it was the most rigorous season that had been experienced here since 
the first settlement. There were twenty-seven snow storms in all, 
most of them of good size. February 3, nearly a foot of snow fell, 
and about a week later there were two more storms, which filled the 
roads in Newbury, Mass., and vicinity to the tops of the fences, and 
in some places the snow lay to the depth of from eight to ten feet. 
On April 4, the fences were still covered, and three days later another 
foot of snow fell. In the woods it was then four feet deep on the level ; 
and there were drifts on the islands off Dorchester, Mass., not quite 
melted on May 3, The snow remained so long that the spring was 
very backward ; and when the ground was ready for planting, the farm- 
ers were almost discouraged, thinking of the failure of the com crop 
the year before. 



I 



CHAPTER XVI. 

The Earthquake of 1^4^. 

'I JT a quarter past ten o'clock on Sunday morning, June 3, 1744, 

r1 just after services at the churches had begun, there was a terrific 
/ earthquake, which reached about one hundred miles, being 
thought by some to have been nearly equal to that of 1 72 7. During 
the preceding month there had been two slight shocks, both occur- 
ring in the morning. This shock was ushered by a loud rumbling 
noise, which put people in remembrance of the great earthquake ol 
1727, and great consternation was caused. 

Many people, who were assembled in the churches at Boston fM 
divine services, ran out into the streets, fearing the buildings would 
fall upon them. At Newbury, Mass., in that part of the town which 
was afterward incorporated as Newburyport, the rector and many of 
the congregation ran out of the Episcopal church. At the parish in 
Ipswich, Mass., called the Hamlet, since incoqiorated as the town of 
Hamilton, the shock came while Rev. Mr. Wiggles worth, the pastor, 
was preaching, and the congregation was exceedingly alarmed ; but 
he endeavored to calm them, remarking that, '-There can be no bet- 
ter place for us to die in than the house of God." 

In Boston and other towns, large numbers of bricks were shaken 
from the tops of chimneys ; and much stone wall in several places in 
the country was tumbled down by it. It was felt severely at Falmouth, 
in Maine. 

At about five o'clock in the afternoon, another and lesser shock was 
felt at Salem, Mass., and adjacent towns, and the people, being sur- 
prised, screamed, and ran out of doors. Three or more smaller shocks 
were perceived that night and the next morning. On the twentieth 
of the month, another shock came, causingpeople to run out of meet- 
ing at Salem. Eight days later there was another. May, June and 
C55) 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 53 

July were all dry months, but whether that fact had any connection 
with the earthquake, or not, we cannot tell. 

During the two and three-fourths centuries of New England's his- 
tory, there have been several hundred earthquakes, the great majority 
of them being but just noticeable, while a considerable number of them 
have resulted in damage. The people here have often expressed their 
satisfaction at living in a land free from the terrible convulsions that 
the warmer sections of the globe have experienced. But history shows 
us that we are not entirely exempt from the awful shakings and rum- 
blings and dangers that are supposed to belong almost exclusively to 
other lands. Nearly every year the territory of New England is dis- 
turbed by these internal movements. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

The Winter of 1747-48, 

THE old people of to-day think that we do not have as severe 
winters as they had when they were in their youth, and they 
certainly liave good reasons for such conclusions. The winter 
of 1747-48 was one of the memorable winters that used to be talked 
about by our grandiiithers when the snow whirled above deep drifts 
around their half-buried houses. There were about thirty sdow storms, 
and they came storm after storm until the snow lay four or five feet 
deep on the level, making travelling exceedingly difficult. On the 
twenty*secondof February, snow in the woods measured four and one- 
half feet ; and on the twenty-ninth there was no getting about except 
on snow shoes. 

There seems to have been more snow in Essex County, Mass., than 
in other parts of New England, and it came there very early in the 
season. On December 14, it had become so deep, and the wind 
blew it so fiercely that John Bowles was smothered to death on the 
Neck at Salem. 

There is an incident connected with this winter's weather which will 
fix it in the minds of readers. In the west parish of Newbury, on ma- 
jestic Crane Neck hill, lived a family by the name of Dole, their little 
son, but six years old, lay sick with a fever as the storms of Decem- 
ber raged, and on the twenty-second of the month he died. 
"Their kindred slept a mile or two aivHy, 
The anow lay deep in drifts upon the ground. 
The roads unbroken no one could discern, 
Twas hill and vale of deep untrodden snow. 
■Where should the little boy be laid I0 rest?' 
Was sslced by anxious hearts. 'lie must lie there. 
Where generations gone beneath the sod 
Repose in peace, beneath the hallowed ground,' 
Was answered by the fither. 
(54) 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 55 

** Across the fields 
And pastures, down through the vale they started 
The saddest Christmas morn they yet had known. 
They soon stopped, the horses wallowing deep 
Were fastened in the snow. Now on again 
They move, but in a moment more'they stop, 
They start and stop, and start and stop again* 
And fail to gain upon their funeral way. 
Discouraged in his vain attempts to reach 
The sacred burial-place so far away, 
The father said, *We cannot further go ; 
Let us bury our dead here where we are.' 
And there beneath the deep snow they laid him 
Alone upon the valley's broad expanse. 
Then turned their faces back to their lone home, 
From which the light had gone, no more to shine 
At least on earth. 

"Around the little grave 
Others laid their dead, till in that lowland 
Scores lay buried. To-day it is a place 
Where antiquarians love to wander; 
And hunting round for the oldest gravestone 
They find this one of Micah Dole's, whose date 
Is seventeen hundred forty-seven, 
And looking farther down they read that he 
Was first of all to lie upon that lea." 




^ 



ON Thursdayjjuly 28, 1748, occurredadisastrous hurricane at Pep- 
perell, Mass. The people of ihe parish had finished eating their 
dinner, and were going to their work in the hay fields, it being 
about one o'clock, when the sound of thunder was heard. It came 
nearer and grew louder until it was deafening, and tiie wind came rush- 
ing across the fields and through the woods, increasing in force until it 
seemed to be irresistible, and developing a rotary motion. Its course 
was from the southwest to the northeast, though it slightly varied, 
blowing sometimes to the right and again to the left. It continued 
for fifteen minutes with such terrific power that the air was filled with 
hay, leaves, limbs of trees and pieces of lumber. The wind swept 
through the centre of the parish, not abating its force until it reached 
the New Hampshire line, a short distance away. 

In the track of the hurricane much damage was done. Fences 
and stone walls were blown down, and the stalks of Indian corn were 
bent over and broken off near the ground. Hay in the fields was 
suddenly whisked up, and scattered over adjoining territory for a mile 
away, being lost. As the wind increased in force many large apple 
and other kinds of trees were torn up by the roots ; in some instan- 
ces enclosing animals in such a manner that they could not get away 
by their efforts alone, though they were not injured, A large portion 
of the roof of the church, and boards from tlie roofs and sides of sev- 
eral other buildings were carried away. Several dwelling houses were 
shattered, and two or three buildings were entirely destroyed. In the 
space covered by the wind was a house, with a wing which was gar- 
risoned. The whirlwind swept down upon the garrison with such 
violence that it was instantly demolished, three of its sides falling to 
the ground, and the other being dashed against the main part of the 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 57 

house, the roof of which had been carried away. Some things that had 
been in the chamber of the house were found more than a mile dis- 
tant. A woman and her three small children were in the body of the 
house at the time, and when the power of the wind became manifest, 
the woman took the children to flee to another building which stood 
near, in which she thought they would be safer. But before they 
could get out the garrison had fallen against the door, through which 
they had intended to pass out, and they were compelled to remain 
where they were, expecting every moment that the rest of the house 
would be demolished, and they be killed and buried beneath falling 
debris. With the exception of the roof, however, the house remained 
intact, and the inmates escaped injury. After the wind had spent its 
force the woman looked out, and saw that where the building to which 
she had intended to go for safety had stood only the underpinning 
remained to mark the spot ; so thorough had been the work of its de- 
molition that not even the sills were in their places. She felt grate- 
ful for the providence that had frustrated her plans by barring the 
door through which she had thought to escape, as otherwise she 
would probably have been killed and her children also. 

Though much property was destroyed, one man losing com, hay, 
fences, apple trees and buildings, in all amounting to more than five 
hundred pounds in value, no life of man or beast was taken, nor was 
anyone seriously injured. 



CHAPTER XIX. 
The Drought of 1749. 

THE spring of 1 749 was uncommonly dry, and by the end of May 
pastures yielded butliltle feed for the cattle, the grass being so 
scorched and burned by the sun that the ground looked while, 
and shortly aftertt'ard several pastures in Dorchester, Mass., and vi- 
cinity took fire and bumetl over like tinder. As the season advanced 
there was less and less for the cattle to live upon ; after eating the 
dried up grass till they could get no more, they suffered greatly for 
the want of food, a writer of that time alleging that they strongly ap- 
pealed to their owners for relief by the expression on their faces. 
Water was also scarce, for the drought had its effect on the brooks 
and springs, and even some small rivers were dried up. Many wells 
that had never been known to frfil before now became dry, and the wa- 
ter was so shallow and so warm tliat many fish died in streams and 
ponds. The earth was as the finest dust to a considerable depth, and 
in many places the ground cracked open. The heat was so severe, 
and everything so intensely dry, that where fragments of broken glass 
lay on the ground tlie combustible material lying near it caught on 
fire. 

The grain was shrunken and sapless, and Indian com rolled up 
and became badly wilted, Tliere were also great quantities of cater- 
pillars and similar insects throughout New England, which was another 
source of destruction. The drought probably continued longer, and 
therefore was felt more severely than any one the people had before 
experienced. 

It seemed as if rain was hardly sufficient to revive vegetation which 
was so thoroughly parched and lifeless ; and the only ray of hope was 
in the coming of immediate showers. Consequently the government 
here ordered that June 9 be a day of public fasting and prayer on 

^Kcount of the drought. About three, weeks later the weather changed, 

^ (58) 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 59 

and rain began to fall, at first only a very little at a time, but by the 
sixth of July there were plenteous showers, which greatly changed the 
face of nature. The grass sprang up, and the season took on the ap- 
pearance of spring. The Indian com also revived, and a good crop 
was harvested. The fields yielded a considerable second growth of 
grass, but not more than one-tenth of art ordinary crop of hay was 
cut. The salt marsh failed as much as the fresh meadow, though it 
had the benefit of tide water. The fields of barley and oats yielded 
but little more than sufficient grain for seed with which to plant them 
again the next season ; and many farmers cut their grain for fodder while 
it was green. Flax and herbs of all kinds were also a failure. August 
14 was appointed by the government as a day of public thanksgiving 
for the rain and its consequent good. 

Rather than go to the great expense of keeping all their cattle 
through the winter, the farmers killed many of them in the autumn. 
This made meat very cheap at that season, but there were so few an- 
imals left, butter sold in the spring as high as seven shillings six pence 
per pound, and in the following May beef and mutton were also very 
dear. 

Only a small number of cattle died during the winter for want of 
sustenance, for some of the farmers purchased hay which was im- 
ported from Pennsylvania and England, paying for it as high as three 
pounds ten shillings per hundred weight. The practice of browsing 
cattle in the woods also greatly helped out their maintenance. The 
people were carried comfortably through the winter, suffering but lit- 
tle for the lack of many things that they had been accustomed to have 
in plenty. 




The Great Earthquake of ij^^. 

ON November i, 1755, the cityof Lbbon, in Portugal, with its con- 
vents, fine churches and royal palaces, was almost totally de- 
stroyed by a terrible earthquake, sixty thousand persons being 
killed by the falling buildings. 

Seventeen days later, at a quarter past four o'clock in the morning 
of Tuesday, November 18, occurred the most destructive and awful 
earthquake that was ever known in New England. The heavens were 
clear, the air calm, a Sabbath-like stillness pervaded the region, and 
at the time of the shock the moon shone brightly, being about two 
hours high. It was a beautiful night, and nothing uncommon oc- 
curred except that the ocean was roaring along its shores louder than 
usual. The earthquakes in New England have come without an- 
nouncement as this one did, in all seasons of the year, in all kinds of 
weather, and at all hours of the day and night. 

Earthquakes are of two kinds, one begins with a gentle oscillation, 
the other comes suddenly, and in a moment templed cities are leveled 
with the plain. The earthquake of 1727 wasof the first kind, while 
this one was of the latter. It came suddenly like gigantic pulsations 
of the earth and tossed eve rj' thing about. This was followed for about 
a minute's duration with a peculiar tremulous motion of the earth, 
which some people thought was the resultant motion of the first shock 
and the gradual lessening of its force. But it was followed instantly 
by a quick vibration and several jerks, much more terrible than the 
first had been. Dr. Edward A. Holyoke, of Salem, Mass., wrote in 
his diary that he "thought of nothing less than being buried instantly 
in the ruins of the house." It continued longer than that of 1727, 
occupying from two and a half to three minutes. Its direction was 
supposed to be from northwest to southeast. 

People were in a state of extreme fright, thinking that the earth was 
£60) 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 6 1 

in process of dissolution, and a writer of that time said, ''I walked out 
about sunrise, and every face looked ghastly. In fine, some of our 
solid and pious gentlemen had such an awe and gloom spread over 
their countenances as would have checked the gay airs of the most 
intrepid." It is said that in those regions where earthquakes are very 
common and to be expected, the people are terrorized by them, no 
familiarity with them removing the awful feeling. No danger or alarm 
so disturbs a person, and no thought is so terrible as that of the earth 
crumblmg to pieces beneath our feet. "What is safe," exclaimed the 
wise Seneca, "if the solid earth itself cannot be relied upon ?" This 
feeling disturbed the people of New England more than it would the 
inhabitants of tropical regions. Animals were also alarmed at the 
mysterious and awful motions of the ground, and the oxen and cows 
lowed and hastened to the barns, the only source of protection that 
they knew, or ran about the fields when no place of refuge offered. 
Dogs went to their masters' doors and howled, not knowing what else 
to do ; and birds left their perches, and flew into the air, fluttering there 
a long time, afraid to again alight on the earth. The ocean along the 
coast was affected as perceptibly as the land, and ships in the harbor 
at Portsmouth, N. H., were shaken so fiercely that the sailors who 
were asleep in their berths were rudely awakened, their first thought 
being that they had struck upon a rock. The river there was also in a 
similar state of agitation. 

At New Haven, Conn., the ground moved with an undulating mo- 
tion like the waves of the sea ; and the houses shook and cracked as if 
about to fall. Mather Byles said, "It was a terrible night, the most 
so, perhaps, that ever New England saw.'* 

The damage done by this earthquake was far greater than that 
caused by any other that has been experienced here. The vibratory 
motion of the earth was so great and sudden that pewter dishes were 
thrown from the dressers, many clocks were stopped, and the vane-rod 
on Faneuil hall in Boston, and those on some of the churches, were 
bent. Much s'one wall throughout the country was thrown down, and 
the shaking of the earth caused a change in the subterranean streams, 
in consequence of which many wells dried up. The principal damage 
consisted of the destruction of chimneys, no portion of New England 
being firee firom it. In Boston, alone, about one hundred were leveled 
with the roofs of the houses, and in all about fifteen hundred were 



62 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

shattered and partly thrown down, the streets in some places being 
almost covered with the fallen bricks. The chimneys were dblocated 
in all sorts of ways, some being broken several feet from the top, and 
partly turned as though there had beeu a swivel at the place. Others 
fell on the roofs, the sections broken off remaining intact, and having 
slipped down to the eaves jutted over, being just reaily to fall. The 
roofs of some of the houses were broken in by the chimneys. The 
wooden buildings were much damaged by being racked, and many 
in Boston were thrown down. Brick buildings were injured most; 
and in Boston the gable ends of twelve or fifteen were knocked down 
to the eaves. In spite of tiie great danger and many narrow escapes, 
no person or animal was killed or seriously injured. 

In the valley of the Merrimac river, this earthquake was not quite 
as severe as that of 1727; its noise was not as loud, and it did less 
damage. The towns along the sea-shore felt it most, and it gradually 
lessened in force as it progressed inland. It was felt from Nova 
Scotia to South Carolina, and in adjoining territories inland for a great 
distance, the great American lakes feeling it severely as shown by the 
agitation of their waters. Traces of it still exist in some places after 
the lapse of more than a century and a third. 

About an hour after t!ie first shock of the earthquake, as day broke 
in the eastern sky, the ground again shook, but with abated force. 
For four days slight shocks occurred daily, and on Saturday evening 
the twenty-second of the month, many persons were again alarmed 
with what proved to be a slight shock only. Again, after the people 
had retired for the night on the evening of December 19, there were 
two or three more shocks. Dull and calm weather, with a heavy at- 
mosphere, succeeded the severe shaking of the earth. 

Religious services and fasts -were held immediately after the first | 
and greatest shock and appeals to God for preservation were made, 
the people being in a state of almost frenzied excitement. It is im- 
possible to realize the perturbed state of the human mind. In Boston, 
a meeting was held at eleven o'clock on the same morning, and Rev. 
Dr. Sewjil preached from the text : "Lest coming suddenly he find you 
sleeping."^ The next day was kept there as a fast. December 24, Lieu- 
tenant-governor Phips ordered a fast, saying in his proclamation there- 
for that, "It having pleased Almighty God, in a most awful and sur- 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 63 

prising manner to manifest his righteous anger against the provoking 
sins of men by terrible and destructive earthquakes and inundations 
in divers parts of Europe and by a late severe shock of an earthquake 
on this continent and in this province in particular, which has been 
succeeded by several others, although less violent than the first.** The 
pastors of Gloucester, Mass., kept a fast on account of the earthquake 
January i, 1756, preaching forenoon and afternoon. Educated and 
ignorant people aUke were greatly frightened ; and it is said that Rev. 
Mr. Richardson, then minister at Wells, Maine, died from fear at this 
time. 

The prospect of death turned the minds of the people toward those 
things that cannot be shaken, and the clergymen improved the oppor- 
tunity to make a rehgious impression upon them. Many were led to 
reflect on the lives they had led, and to seek reconciliation with their 
Maker, the church membership being considerably increased. 




I 



TTT Leicester, Mass., in 1759, occurred a terrific hurricane, which 
PI passed over the westerly part of the town, its direction being 
V from southwest to northeast. It seemed to make a dash to- 
ward tlie earth at the farm tlien belonging to Samuel Lynde, situated 
on the nonh side of what was then called the great post-road, and 
then rose from the earth higher and higher, until it was no longer per- 
ceptible. Its movement resembled a mammoth scoop or the swoop 
of a hawk, which makes n, sudden and powerfiil evolution to snatch 
up some prey, and then as suddenly and quickly ascends. 

The buildings on the farm of Mr. Lynde consisted of a house, b 
and corn barn, and the wind struck them all. In the house at the time 
were ten or twelve persons, and both building and people were 
moved to a considerable distance, the house being torn into fr 
ments. It was said that some of the nails with which the boards had 
been fastened were found driven'inlo trees by the wind so firmly that 
they could not be withdrawn without a hammer. The people in 
house suffered various experiences. One of them, a negro man, who 
was standing at the door when the wind came, was carried nearly 
ten rods and dashed upon the ground with such violence that he w 
killed, several of his ribs being broken. A litde girl was standing at 
the door by the negro's side. She was carried forty rods, and had 
one of her anns broken. Four women were found in the cellar, hai 
ing been very much bruised, but they did not know how they came 
there. A little boy was rescued from under a mass of broken timbers 
and fragments of boards. The rest of the people escaped probably, 
as history does not mention them. In a spot whose distance from 
C64) 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 65 

the scene of the disaster was more than a mile was found a watch 
that was hanging in the house when the hurricane came upon it ; and 
other articles were found in the town of Holden, ten miles away. The 
bam and corn-bam which stood near the house were also entirely 
demolished, and a horse that was in the bam was killed. Near the 
buildings was a pile of boards, measuring seven thousand feet, which 
were taken into the air, where most of them were reduced to kindling 
wood. The trees and fences standing in the track of the wind were 
leveled, and all the wooden stmctures belonging to this farm were 
entirely blotted out, while the rest of the neighborhood remained un- 
harmed. 




The Drought of ij62. 



IN eastern Massachusetts, there was a distressing drought in the 
summer of 1762. There was scarcely any rain from April g to; 
August iS, and in some places, as at Danvers, until September sz. 
The month of April was cold, and the season was accordingly late. 
There was a slight drizzling rain at Boston May 7, but the next did 
not come till June 3. It was also showery there June 18. Nearly 
all the wells became drained, and grass was dried up, all sorts of veg- 
etation being scorched by the burniiig rays of the sun. Everything 
appeared to have been burned. On the seventh of July a fast was 
held at Falmouth, in Maine, on account of the drought, but the ser- 
vices were scantily attended, as the men were busy in putting out the 
numerous fires that prevailed all through the locality, because of the 
dryness of the earth and vegetation. On the same day, and also on 
the thirteenth of the month, fasts and prayer-meetings were held in the 
towns around Milton, and the fifteenth was observed as a day of fast- 
ing and prayer in that town, the public meeting taking place at Rev, 
Mr. Robbins' church. On the twenty -fourth, there was a shower with 
terrific thunder and lightning at Dorchester, but it was confined to a 
very limited territory ; and it was thought that more water fell at this 
time than had descended since the first of April. On the twenty- 
eighth, the people, being fearful that a famine would ensue, kept a 
public fast at Boston, Newbury and Falmouth, and probably at other 
places, to beseech God to avert the dreadful evil. But the earth be- 
came dryer daily, and vegetation seemed to die. Fires continued to 
break out in the woods, some of them burning over extensive terri- 
tory. By the first of August it was thought that the crops would be 
an utter failure. The heavens continued to withhold their rain, the 
parched earth became more parched, and still there were no refresh- 
ing showers, except at and around Falmouth, in Maine, where loun- 
C66> 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 67 

teous rain had gladdened the earth on July 30 and August 13 and 
16. August 18, rain descended in great quantities throughout the 
country. From that time forth there was no reason for complaint on 
account of lack of rain, except in a few small localities that had not 
received their full share of the supply. 

Crops were very light, hay being so scarce the next winter that it 
was sold for four times its ordinary price. The farmers codld not af- 
ford to keep their cattle until spring, and for this reason they slaugh- 
tered many of the animals, consuming the meat with the meagre 
supply of bread, which the failure of the corn crop yielded them, some 
of the people being reduced to suffering for want of meal. 




COTTON MATHER thought that New England suffered as much 
as any other portion of the world from lightning, or, as he termed 
it, ihunder, it being in his day generally supposed that thunder 
and not lightning caused the damage. Lightning had struck build- 
ings, trees, animals and people from the time of the earliest settle- 
ment, but it does not appear to have caused very much damage in 
any one season until 1 768. The scattered buildings and people had 
ut slight chance of being injured by lightning on account of their 
small number and wide separation. 

The summer of 1768 is particularly noticeable on account of the 
very large number of showers accompanied with thunder and light- 
ning, although they did not commence until the month of August. 
On the morning of the first day, which was Monday, during a shower 
the lightning destroyed a number of trees in the towns around Boston ; 
in the afternoon another shower came up, during which the lightning 
struck the residence of the then well-known victualler, Mr. Shirley, at 
Roxbury, The hghtning struck one end of the house in the gable, 
and entered it through a window which was destroyed together with 
its frame. The house of Doctor Sprague on Winter street in Boston 
was also struck on the chimney down the outside of which the light- 
ning came and entered a closet in one of the chambers where were 
some curtain rods which it was thought conducted the electricity to a 
clock directly under them in the room below. In the closet was a 
considerable amount of china, which was not injured, with the excep- 
tion of a small saucer that was broken. A black smooch was left 
on some of the plates, which probably marked_the track of the light- ' 
ning. The clock case was knocked about the room in fragments, 
and the works were thrown on a couch uninjured. A large glass which 
(68) 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 60 

covered some wax-work was also broken; and the partitions and 
doors of the house were much injured, the lightning evidently pass- 
ing down into the bottom of the cellar. Another house in Boston, the 
residence of Mr. Davis, a barber, situated on Water street, was also 
struck on the top of the chimney ; the electric fluid came down its 
side, knocking out some of the tiles, and entering a closet, where were 
some curtain rods, tore it to pieces. The boards and also some arti- 
cles of clothing which were hanging in the closet were thrown into 
the room. The lightning then entered another closet, where it partly 
melted some weights made of lead, and also the heads of several naite 
from which the boards had been torn, and then departed by way of the 
cellar. In a chamber in the house two children were stunned by the 
shock, but soon regained consciousness. Another house struck in 
Boston was that of Mr. Bacon, a carpenter residing on Temple street. 
Here the lightning came down the chimney, broke one of the tiles in 
the hearth of the lower room, where it melted a pewter plate and broke 
the glass in a picture- frame and in one of the windows. No one was 
injured, and the damage was slight. On the same afternoon, in Hart- 
ford, Conn., the rain fell in torrents, and the vivid lightning struck a 

a 

tree in the west part of the town under which were two cows belong- 
ing to Caleb Bull, which were instantly killed. A bam in Norwalk, 
Conn., owned by the widow Benedict was also struck, being set on 
fire and wholly consumed with the hay and grain which were in it. 
This shower was very slight in Salem, Mass., but the people there were 
greatly interested in the grandeur of the movements and aspects of 
the forces contending together in the clouds toward Boston, and one 
of the citizens was led to pen the following lines, which were published 
in the Essex Gazette a few days later. 

"TTARK! 

-'- -^ What grumbling Noife comes thro' the yielding Air I 
Is it the Cannon's Roar ! The Din of War? 
No ! — 'Tis the Voice of God; he Thunder rolls, 
And flafhes Lightnings to the diftant Polls. 

The Clouds impregnate with electric Ire, 
Join and disjoin, and fold the Skies in Fire : 
At which the Thunders burft with dreadful Roar, 
Sweep through the Skies, and grumble on the Shore ! 

But Hill the Sound augments : while through the Air 
Surprirmg Lightnings gleam with frightful Glare ! 



70 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 



See !— from the Weft the gloomy Tempeft rife : 
Succeffive Flafhes lite the burning SkiesI — 

Such is Ihe Noife, and fuch Ihe Lighlninga rbine. 
They Imth proclaim the Aulhot ia DIVINE!— 

Are fach bis Terrors, when his kind Command 
Bids pregnant Clouds water the thirfty Land! 
What fity Vengeance will he tlien difplay, 
In that great, awful and confuramate Day ; 
When down the Skies to Judgment he defcends; 
To crufh his Foes; and to reward his Friends 1 
When loond hia fhining Throne (no more of Grace) 
Shall ftand a numerous lloft, the human Race I 
Angels and Devils ! When the fov'reign Lord 
Shall judge the whole, and give a juft Keward 1 — 

Amazing Thought!" 

On Wednestiay evening, September 7, at VVrentham, Mass., a shower 
occurred in wliich lightning tore a large oak tree to pieces. Some of 
the large sections were tlirowo from three to four rods, and a few of 
the pieces were carried more than ten rods. Only the trunk remained 
standing, and the top of that was completely broomed. 

On the next evening, at about eight o'clock, during another shower, 
lightning struck the tavern of Daniel Mann. At the time, a number 
of ladies and gentlemen were sitting around the tea table, the room 
being lighted by a candle, and a flash of lightning came into the room, 
being followed by an explosion, apparently as loud as the discharge 
of a cannon. Large sparks were seen, and the air in the room smelled 
as if impregnated with sulphur. The explosion having extinguished 
the candle, another was obtained, and the premises exammed. A 
pane of glass in one of t!ie windows was found to be broken, and a 
large clock in one corner of the room was much injured, a steel spring 
that held the pendulum being melted. The ceiling and doors of the 
loom were much damaged ; and two of the floor boards were raised 
and split. A gentleman, who was sitting near the clock felt a violent 
shock on the top of his head, and the coat of another was scorched 
on the right shoulder. The last named man suffered some pain in the 
same shoulder, but he was the only one of the twenty-seven persons 
in the house that was injured. Some damage was also done in other 
parts of the house, and all the inmates were filled with terror. A man, 
upon coming into the room, was so affected by the sulphurous air that 
his head ached for some time. A tree near the house was also 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 7 1 

Struck. A boy at Rehoboth, Mass., ten years old, was instantly 
killed by lightning in the same shower. At Mendon, Mass., it was 
very severe, and great quantities of rain fell, continuing from eight 
o'clock in the evening until four the next morning, with but brief in- 
tervals of relaxation. At about one o'clock, the barn of Dr. William 
Jennison was struck and set on fire by lightning, and in a few minutes 
it was consumed with the contents, being full at this harvest season 
with hay, flax and. grain. The house of Joseph Reed of Uxbridge, 
Mass., was also struck, the lightning coming down the chimney. The 
hearth and part of the floor were torn up, and Mr. Reed with several 
members of his family, who were standing near the fireplace were tem- 
porarily stunned. This shower was not as local as thunder showers 
generally are, but it extended over a large territory, and the lightning 
was sharper and more frequent and disastrous than it was remembered 
to have been before in many parts of the region. 

As late as the afternoon of Wednesday, November 2, there was 
very heavy thunder at Boston. At Charles town, the bakehouse of 
Thomas Rayner was struck by lightning, and considerably damaged 
on the roof, one side of it being torn to pieces. A lad at the bolt- 
ing mill was knocked down, but soon recovered, the bolting cloth was 
burned and the mill broken. 




Tlie Gale of December 4, I^6S. 

ON Sunday, December 4, i;68,occurredasouthea5t rainstorm.ac- 
conipanied by a violent gale. The day before nine West-India 
men sailed out of the port of New London, Conn. The gale 
came on fresh the next morning and one of them put back, but as far 
as the writer has learned the others sailed into the face of the wind and 
braved it through away from the coast. 

At New Haven, Conn., the stonn came on in the evening, and the 
wind blew terrifically till twelve o'clock. Four or five vessels at Long 
wharf parted their cables, and two of them were driven ashore, but 
were got off without much trouble when it was high tide. 

At Guilford, a ship commanded by Captain Landon, which had 
arrived but a short time before from Liverpool, went ashore, having 
parted its cables. 

As far as we have learned, there were no vessels driven on the bars 
off the coast of Cape Cod during the gale. 

On the night of the storm a briga mine belonging to the port, of 
Boston, Thomas Morton, master, being inward bound from the West 
Indies, was driven on the rocks near the lighthouse in Boston harbor, 
and instantly dashed to pieces. The cargo consisted of sugar and 
molasses, and was large and valuable. Everything was lost, includ- 
ing several hundred dollars in money which was in the captain's chest. 
The people on board were saved with much difficulty, some of them 
being severely bruised. 

Another vessel of the same build and rig, Thomas Thomas, mas- 
ter, bound from the West Indies to Newburyport, with a cargo of 
molasses, was cast away near Cape Ann, and both vessel and cargo 
were entirely lost. The crew were saved, with the exception of the 
mate, who was drowned. 

A coaster commanded by Captain Patterson had been sailed for 
C7«) 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 73 

several years between Boston and the Kennebec river, and on Thurs- 
day, three days before the storm, sailed from the last named place, 
having on board a number of passengers belonging to Pownalborough, 
Me., who had been up the Kennebec to procure the winter's supply 
of provisions for their families, and were now returning with their 
purchases. They were Captain Thomas Allen, Ralph Chapman, John 
Barker, Mr. Perry, John Pierce, Mr. Hersey, Mrs. Jonas Fitch and 
Mrs. Stilfin, a Dutch woman. The crew consisted of Captain Patter- 
son, Mr. Rogers, Mr. Kinney and a negro man belonging to the cap- 
tain. In the darkness of the night and the terrific gale, they were cast 
away before they had reached Pownalborough, and the vessel with 
its freight and every person on board were lost. Mr. Chapman left 
a widow and seven children, and Mrs. Fitch five children. Only a 
few things of any value washed ashore, among them being several 
chests that were dashed to pieces before they could be secured, except 
the captain's which was strapped with iron. 

At Fox island, situated farther down on the Maine coast, was soon 
afterward discovered the wreck of a vessel, apparently of about one 
hundred tons burden, which was probably cast ashore in this storm. 
There were found several sections of the vessel, some wearing ap- 
parel, a feather bed, a Holland shirt marked with the letters "T. P.," 
and some other articles which had washed ashore. 

Other vessels, according to the newspaper reports of that time, were 
said to have been wrecked in that vicinity. How many vessels and 
lives were lost in this storm will never be known ; and when we think 
of the great number of vessels that have gone down in the tempest 
and the darkness and for a century have been lying so unconcern- 
edly at the bottom of the sea or buried in the sand off the beaches we 
entertain a thought similar to that of Hiram Rich : 

**0 fleet that silent tarries 

Along our listening land, 
No night to come dismays thee, 
No bar and tempest strand." . 



CHAPTER XXV. 
The Summer ef lydg. ' 

THE sumnier of 1 769 opened with hot weather, the thermometer 
at Salem, Mass., May 10, registering eighty-four and a half degrees 
above zero out of doors in the shade. The next day it rapidly 
grew colder, and in the evening there came on a snow storm, which 
contiriued twelve hours, the snow falling to the depth of six inches. 
For several succeeding weeks the weather continued cloudy, closing 
abruptly with a severe frost on June z. The next day was very fair 
and pleasant, especially at Boston, and afforded a fine opportunity 
for viewing the rare transit of Venus which then occurred. The next 
day it was extremely hot again, and toward the end of the month 
near Boston tiie thermometer in open air and deep shade at three 
o'clock in the afternoon showed the temperature to be ninety-nine 
and one-half degrees above zero, which was three degrees higher than 
the same glass had ever indicated before at that place, though it had 
been in use for several years. That was the hottest day that had been 
known for a long period. 

A week later, on the afternoon and evening of Wednesday, July 5, 
at Northampton, Mass., occurred the severest shower of rain with 
thunder and lightning that had visited that place for a long period. 
For several hours it rained so hard that the meadows were covered 
with water to the depth of from three to four feet. A great deal of 
hay was carried off by the flood. The lightning also did some dam- 
age. It struck the chimney of the residence of Deacon Hunt, and 
ran down to the lower floor, where two of his children, one about 
fourteen and the other about seven years old, were standing. Both 
of them were instantly killed, but the house was only slightly damaged. 

At about six minutes before seven o'clock on the evening of July 
13. there was a slight earthqtiake, and on the evening of the nineteenth 
the northern lights were very beautiful, being more extensive a 
brighter than usual. 
(74) 




. IJIC llJIJCLCCULIl 

extensive and I 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 75 

On Monday forenoon, July 31, there was a terrible shower of hail 
and rain, with thunder and lightning, which extended over a wide 
territory in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The hail 
was of large size, and in some parts of Scituate, Mass., it lay on the 
ground for thirty hours, being the next day at noon nearly a foot deep 
in several places. It broke* nearly all the windows that were ex- 
posed to the wind, and did much damage to fruit orchards, grass, to- 
bacco, corn, rye, etc., one man in West Greenwich, R. I., having 
twenty acres of Indian corn totally destroyed. At Newport, R. I., 
the hail- stones were said to have been as large as musket balls, at 
West Greenwich, the size of pullets' eggs ; and some of those that 
fell at Scituate, Mass., as large as goose eggs. The shower evidently 
began in the neighborhood of Danvers, Mass., and proceeded in a 
southerly direction. At that place, the lightning struck a tree, and 
killed an ox and a cow that were standing near it ; and in another 
part of the town a 'child was knocked down, but was not much in- 
jured. Proceeding to Charlestown, the lightning struck and slightly 
damaged three houses, one of which belonged to Richard Gary, Esq. 
The kitchen chimney was struck, and the electric fluid came down 
into the kitchen, knocking a negro woman from the hearth to tlie 
middle of the room where she found herself when her senses returned 
a short time afterward. The lightning divided and took different 
courses through several rooms, proceeding upward and going out 
at a chamber window.. In Boston, the kitchen chimney of the house 
of Capt. Job Prince at the west end of the town was struck by the 
lightning, which came down as far as the cross bar, and exploded, 
knocking a negro woman down. She remained senseless for half an 
hour and then recovered. Two vessels lying at Hancock's wharf were 
struck, each of them having a mast so split that it had to be replaced 
by a new one. Three men at work in the hold of one of the vessels 
were stunned, and it was some time before they recovered. The 
shower next proceeded in a southwest direction to the parish of Brook- 
line, where the hail shattered many windows, among them those in 
the house of Rev. Mr. Whitney. At Wrentham, sixteen sheep were 
killed by the lightning. The shower then took a course nearly 
east, and was next heard from at Scituate, where much damage was 
done by the hail. The shower was about three-fourths of a mile 
wide as it passed over the town, in a southerly direction. At Abing- 



76 HISTORIC yrORMS OF MEW ENGIANTI. ^^^H 

ton, a barn was stnick and bumed together with a quantity of hay. 
At Middleboro, eight trees within eighty rods of each other were 
struck. The shower then continued in a southwesterly direction, and 
we hear no more from it until it had crossed the line into Rhode Isl- 
and, at Middletown, where the lightning killed a cow. The shower 
reached Newport just before ten o'clock, having travelled very fast 
through Massachusetts. Here, much damage was done by the hail. 
At Jamestown, a stack of hay was bumed, Jiaving been set on fire by 
the lightning. The force of the shower seemed now to be nearly 
spent, and itwanderedaway inanorthwesterly direction to West Green- 
wich. Early in the afternoon it crossed the Connecticut line, and was 
last heard from at Windham, where the lightning struck three horses, 
which were under a tree, one of ihem being killed. The electric cur- 
rent ran about four rods from the foot of the tree, and entered a house 
tinder a door, whicli was shut. All the damage it did was to bum 
the foot of a young woman, and also of a lad. 

Another shower occurred on Sunday evening, August 6, at Taunton, 
Mass., when the hghtning struck the house of Ebenezer Dean, whom 
it killed.- At Norton, four sheep were killed, and at Assonet, a man 
was killed in his house. His wife was milking a cow by the door, and 
both the cow and herself were considerably stunned by the same 

At Hartford, Conn., at about two o'clock in the afternoon of Tues- 
day, August 15, a very heavy shower came up, and the rain poured 
down in torrents, beiug attended with heavy and loud claps of thunder. 
During the shower the residence of Jacob Se)mour was struck by 
lightning, but no person was hurt. The rain continued to pour for 
several hours, and low lands were flooded to such an extent that it 
was estimated that more than a hundred tons of hay were swept off by 
the water. An interesting and well attested incident of this sliower 
was that of finding in the street after it was over great numbers of 
living animals, iwo or three inches in length, resembling fish, but not 
like any variety known in that part of the country. The street had 
been dry and hard before the sliower, and these little fish must have 
descended in the rain, but from what section they came, we believe, 
has never been learned. During the same shower a bam in Sims- 
bury belonging to a Mr. Cass was struck by lightning, set on fire, 
and totally destroyed with its contents. 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 77 

During this summer the barn of Samuel Plummer, situated in that 
part of Rowley which has since been incorporated as the town of 
Georgetown, was set on fire by lightning, and with its contents was 
wholly consumed. 

In August and September, the appearance of a comet contrary to 
the calculations of astronomers troubled the people to some extent, 
and the newspapers of that time contained many articles relating to 
it. 

On September 8, occurred a violent northeast rain-storm, which 
caused several vessels to be driven ashore in Massachusetts Bay. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

The Great Freshet of zyjo. 

"TTT about one o'clock in the morning of Sunday, January 7, 1770, 
y\ commenced a rain storm, with the wind blowing from the south- 
J east, which caused the greatest freshet perhaps that ever oc- 
curred in New England. The weather liad been very cold and dry 
through the month of December, and ice had formed extremely thick 
and strong. The storm continued with violence all through Sunday 
and until the next day at noon, when the clouds rolled away, and 
the sun again appeared. A very high tide occurred at this time and 
the combination of stonn, wind and tide produced a freshet which 
caused the water to rise in many places ten feet higher than usual, and 
to remain at that height for several days. 

For fifteen years the Connecticut river had not risen so high. The 
ice was quickly broken up, and the stream overflowed its banks one- 
half of a mile on either side, doing great damage in many ways. At 
Hartford, the river was impassable for several days. In the Tunxis, or 
Farmington river, which flows into the Connecticut, the torrent was 
much swollen and very rapid. At Simsbury, the buildings at the iron 
works of Richard Smith were carried away, and the wiiole plant was 
entirely destroyed. 

On the Androscoggin and Kennebec rivers the freshet was greatest 
and most injurious ; at Bowdoinham the tide rose from thirty to forty, 
and some placed it as high as fifty feet above its usual height. On 
Monday evening, the river had not perceptibly risen, and people were 
passing back and forth on skates and with horses, the ice appearing 
soliil and strong, and as smooth and clear as glass. At about eight 
o'clock the spectators heard an uncommonly heavy rumbling soimd, 
which slowly increased in loudness til! shortly after eleven o'clock, 
when it quickly became louder and heavier, until, in the opinion of 
the people who heard it, it resembled the sudden approach of an 
(78) 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 79 

earthquake, or the roar of the ocean in a storm, beating its mighty 
billows against a bold and rocky bluff, or a crushing like the fall of 
lofty ruins, or the continuous reports of cannon, or frequent bursts of 
thunder ; and the earth trembled with the movement of the great 
body of water which endeavored to burst the thick, strong ice that 
like iron bound the stream to its channel. The waters swelled in vol- 
ume and force, and the ice trembled and groaned as probably no one 
now living ever heard it. The people could not understand what it 
all meant, and some were more frightened than they had been when 
the earthquake of 1755 came upon them with its fearful noises and 
terrible commotion, being apprehensive that something dreadful was 
in store. The otherwise quiet and weird hour of midnight was at 
hand. The noise constantly grew louder, and the trembling of the 
earth increased, until with a last gigantic throb the seething water 
burst the icy shackles that bound it and spread itself over its banks, 
tossing the cakes of ice high above its angry billows as though they 
had been shavings, and carrying destruction in all directions. Iron- 
hearted oaks and pines two feet in diameter, that had withstood the 
storms of nearly a century, were ground off by the ice or broken, and 
went down in the boiling flood. The inhabitants never forgot the 
horror of that night. 

Morning dawned at last, and presented to the beholders a scene 
of ruin and desolation that cannot be desoribed. Ice had again 
blocked the way of the current of the river, and nothing could be seen 
but a mass of ice, some of it consisting of vast floes of various shapes. 
Other sections rose like large pillars above the general level to the 
height of ten or twelve feet, while the great mass of it was crumbled 
into small pieces, most of them being the size of pebbles. In the 
bright sunlight of the morning, the colors of the prism showed beau- 
tifully from each angle of the infinite cakes and particles of ice, and 
by reflection caused such a variety of designs and an intermixture of 
colors and shades that it was one of the most beautiful sights that 
mortals ever witnessed. But the people had no eyes for beauty that 
morning. Desolation had come upon them, and the stream was 
now simply gathering strength to continue its work of destruction, 
rising four feet in fifteen minutes. No trace of the underlying wa- 
ter could be seen through the compact body of ice, though it was 
then surging and throbbing and striving to be free again. Along the 



80 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

banks and in upon the land, huge cakes of ice weighing several tons 
each had been driven, and tlie bushes and trees had been torn away 
and buried beneath the deluge. 

The great quantity of ice dammed the river until nine o'clock in 
the morning, when the force of the accumulated water became strong 
enough to push it away, and for two hours it rushed down with ter- 
rific rage. Men and women stood awe stricken at the sight and 
sound, and the stoutest heart was moved to the uttermost. Huge 
cakes of ice rose high into the air and tumbled one over another, and 
great masses were tossed up, while many tons of fragments were vi- 
olently forced in on the land. In the moving mass were also whole 
trees, immense logs, timbers, boardsj shingles, clapboards, canoes, 
boats, gondolas, barns, houses and small buildings, crushing and 
grinding against one anoiher, and rushing, tumbling down the thun- 
dering torrent. Before twelve o'clock tlie ice again stopped, and the 
river fell two feet, continuing at that height until night. 

Swan island causes the river to divide into two channels, and the 
ice and other debris which came down with the flood formed gigantic 
dams across both of them, about half way down the island. These 
caused the water to flow over t!ie land on both sides of the river. 
At one place, behind the point on the road to Richmond, the water 
ran in a stream as wide as the eastern river, and ten feet deep, sweep- 
ing away the trees and everything else before it. The water also swept 
around Cushing's point, and left Judge Cushing's house standing on 
an island. This strearn carried large quantities of ice, trees and tim- 
ber, as it went dashing and foaming over the flats into the eastern 
river. Nothing could equal its fury as it swept away the ice below 
in an instant. 

The Cobbessecontee stream was but slightly swollen ; but in the 
Androscoggin river, which empties into the Kennebec, the freshet was 
most destructive. At the Brunswick falls, all the mills consisting of two 
double saw- mi Us and one grist-mill, and two other saw- mi lis a little 
farther up the stream were entirely destroyed, the monstrous dam at the 
falls also being partly carried away. Vast qu.iniities of logs cut from the 
forests farther up the river were aimually floated down to Brunswick to 
be converted into lumber. At the time of the freshet there were sev- 
eral thousand thete, and when the dam gave way they swept down 
with the raging torrent. The damage at the falls was estimated at 



HISTORIC STORMS C 



NEW E^fGLA^-D. 



i 



;y thousand dollars (or, at that time, ten thousand pounds old 
). After the river had resumed its usual height, the ridge of 
along its hanks was measured belowlhe falls and found to be sixty 
feet high perpendicularly above the water. Nearly a month afterward 
ihe site of the falls could not be distinguished, because the river was 
filled with ice forty feet thick, the great mass consisting of huge cakes 
lying one upon anotlier as they were tossed by the torrent. 

Many buildings were carried away. One of these, a large store at 
'Cobb ess econtee belonging to Doctor Gardiner of Boston, was swept 
down the river a little below Richmond, and lodged at the Narrows 
on the back of Swan island. His potash house was removed to the 
rear of the Gtidden, which was afterward known as ihe Smith house, 
and his chimneys were also demolished. His grist-mill, however, re- 
mained on its foundation though the water came almost to its roof. 
Henry McCausland's house was carried down and left upon the great 
sands. Several barns, in which were hay and grain and sheep and 
other animals were swept away in the flood. 

The Brunswick falls are situated at the head of tide water, and large 
vessels have been buiU there. At the time of this freshet several ves- 
sels in various stages of construction were upon the stocks, and the 
water floated them upon the high land, where it left them. Nearly 
all the gondolas, of which there was a large number, and the boats 
and canoes along the Androscoggin and the Kennebec were de- 
stroyed. Almost every family at Pownalborough -that lived near the 
river suffered more or less damage. Martin Hayley's old house, 
which was filled with hay, was carried into the woods. The sheep 
belonging to the Nantucket people were drowned and their fences 
destroyed. 

Six loads of hay were carried off from Bluff-head, and all the tim- 
ber, boards, canoes and the gondola of Major Goodwin were swept 
down with the flood. Besides his hay, Mr. Ridley lost twenty thou- 
sand shingles, Mr. Lovejoy's wharf was shattered to pieces, liis 
warehouse moved from its foundation, the stores being much dam- 
aged, his cellar and kitchen filled with water, and his blacksmith 
shop demolished. 

It must have been thought before reading thus far that a flood of 
such great dimensions, which came so suddenly and at midnight, 
involved more or less personal danger. The people were indeed 



I 



8* HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

distressed, some of them being taken out of their beds and rescued 
in canoes. Henry Smith resided a short distance from the river, and 
his large liouse was filled with water to the chamber floor, he narrowly 
escaping out of a chamber window. Frederick Jacqueen and Merrick 
also barely escaped being drowned, and their families were obliged to 
be out in the open air all through the cold night. Deacon Chase's 
house and bam were both filled with water, his family being compelled 
to leave, and tlic torrent rushed with such violence over Call's point 
that old Mr. Call and his wife were saved with great difficulty. 

The road from Deacon Chase's house to Bowman's was impassa- 
ble for ten days after the freshet, the bridges having been carried 
away and the causeways covered several feet deep with ice and parts 
of trees. At this time, also, the cakes of ice were so piled one above 
another all along the shore that it was almost impossible to climb 
over them. In some places they seemed like mountains, and in 
others rose like magnificent towers with perpendicular walls. One of 
these ice hills situated on a point was forty rods in length, twenty 
feet being under water and twenty-five above. At a distance it 
resembled huge craggy boulders tumbled promiscuously upon one 
another. A great number of caverns were formed among the floes, 
some of which were of great length, and others so high studded that a 
man could walk upright, with a firm shelter overhead. 

For a month, the Kennebec river, especially below where the An- 
droscoggin joins it, was nearly filled with ice, trees, logs, ruius of 
buildings, .boards, shingles, hay, canoes and debris. 





The Summer cf rjJO. 

IT was said centuries ago that lightning strikes churches oftener 
than residences. In reference to this saying Cotton Mather wrote 
in the seventeenth century : " New England can say so. Our 
meeting houses and our ministers' houses have had a singular share in 
the strokes of thunders," Tliis summer of i 7 70 seemed to prove these 
assertions, and if Mather had then been alive he would doubtless have 
mentioned this evidence in support of his claim. The principal showers 
during the summer occurred as follows. 

About eleven o'clock in the forenoon of Tuesday, May 29, during 
a shower a bam belonging to Capt. Enoch Angell in North Providence, 
R, I., was struck by lightning, and burned to the ground, A house 
was also damaged from the same cause at Voluntown, R. I., and two 
persons were much hurt, one of whom it was then thought would not 
recover. 

During the second week in June, a similar shower occurred in Dan- 
vers, Mass., during which a tree was struck by lightning, and four 
sheep standing near it were killed by the shock. 

About July 10, in the midst of a drought at Natick, Mass., there 
was a shower, during which the barn of Capt. John Coolidge was 
struck by lightning, a spar being knocked out, and the building 
otherwise damaged to a considerable extent. The lightning also struck 
three trees within a circumference of seventy rods ; and under one of 
them was a cow belonging to Lt. John Bacon, which was instantly 
killed, A large oak tree that stood in the line of a fence near Chilewet 
pond was also struck, the tree being lorn to pieces and the rails of 
the fence split for three lengths. Hail also fell, damaging the corn 
and other cuitivated crops. 

The drought continued, and the earth became so dry that the crops 
were in a precarious condition. On this account, Thursday, July 19, 

C83) 




84 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

was observed as a day of fasting and prayer by the people of several 
towns in the southeastern section of New Hampshire ; and before the 
day closed a plenliiul and refreshing shower fell thtougliout that re- 
gion. At Rochester, it was accompanied with a violent tornado, which 
blew down several houses and bams, many trees, much of the fences, 
and a great deal of corn. The church and several other buildings 
were much racked and shattered, the hail smashed many windows, 
and left deep dents on the sides of the houses, which evidenced the 
great force with which it came. Tliirteen sheep there were killed by 
the lightning, and a cow by the falling of a tree. During the sarce 
shower, in the West parish of Newbury, Mass., Benjamin Poor's bam 
was struck by the lightning and consumed. 

At Bedford, Mass., on the next day, the house of Hugh Maxwell 
was considerably damaged by lightning, which exploded in a room 
where there were eight persons, and melted two plates, out of which 
his children were eating, but they ail escaped uninjured. 

On Sunday, the twenty-second, the steeple of Rev. Mr. Thayer's 
church at Hampton, N. H., was shattered to pieces by lightning while 
the people were coming out of the church, the services being over 
but no one was injured. 

As the month drew toward its close, the weather became very hot, 
and showers accompanied with thunder and lightning, occurred with 
great frequency. On Wednesday, July 25, two houses at Plymouth, 
Mass., were struck and greatly damaged by lightning. 

On Wednesday, August r, the heat was very extraordinary, the tem- 
perature being a hundred degrees above zero in deep shade, four de- 
grees higher than " blood-heat." This was at Sharon, Conn. The 
next day, the temperature was two degrees lower, and about five o'clock 
on that afternoon a thunder cloud arose in the southwest, and travelled 
toward the northeast. Before it was overhead, while the sun was shin- 
ing brightly the thunder pealed violently and loudly, and out of the 
head of the cloud shot forth a stream of hghtning which struck the 
steeple of the church at Sharon, and would doubtless have torn it in- 
to fragments, but for the lightning rod which had been placed upon 
it for protection. The rod carried off the current, and left the steeple 
uninjured. The same effort of the lightning was repeated ten or fif- 
teen minutes later, with the same result. This is the earliest lightning 
rod the writer has found mentioned in New England. The news- 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 85 

j)apers of that date contain long dissertations on the usefulness of light- 
ning rods, referring to this instance as evidence in support of their 
theory. In the same shower a house at East Greenwich, R. I., was 
struck and much shattered, and at another part of Narraganset the 
lightning killed five hogs in one yaid. 

On the next day at five o'clock in the afternoon, at Waltham, Mass., 
the steeple of the " new meeting-house " was struck by lightning in a 
shower, and set on fire, being considerably burned before the flames 
could be extinguished. On the same night, it rained a great deal in 
Falmouth, Maine. 

On Sunday night, August s> the lightning struck a large bam at 
Epping, N. H., and burned it with its contents, there being in it at the 
time about twenty tons of hay. In the same shower at Newbury, Mass., 
a bam belonging to Moses Newell was struck and entirely consumed 
with a large quantity of hay and a valuable horse, which were there- 
in. Mr. Ne weirs loss was estimated at about three thousand dollars. 

On the forenoon of Saturday, the eighteenth of the month, there 
was a violent shower, accompanied with thunder and lightning, dur- 
ing which the rain poured down in torrents. A whirlwind or hurricane 
was created by it at Salem, Mass., which moved with impetuous fury 
from west to east over the lower end of the town. The wind blew but 
a few minutes, and its track was only a few rods in width. No per- 
sons were injured, but the damage done was considerable, trees .and 
chimneys being blown down and barns unroofed. 

The last shower of the season of which we have any record occurred 
on Monday, August 20, when a man was killed by the lightning at 
Sudbury, Mass.; while he was at work in a field. 




The Storm of October 20, ijjo. 

ONE of the most violent and destructive storms of wind and rain 
that ever occurred on the New England coast prevailed on Sat- 
urday, October zo, 1770. It began Fridaynight and continued 
most of the following day, the wind blowing from the north -northeast. 
At noon the tide rose to an extraordinary height, being greater than 
any that had occurred since the famous tide of 1 713, and within a foot 
as high as that. The tide floated off vast quantities of salt hay from 
the marshes of Lynn and towns south of Boston, also lumber, wood, 
and many other things from wharves, and by wetting spoiled valuable 
stores of salt and sugar. The wind blew down stores, barns and 
sheds, unroofed houses, and tore up fences and trees. Along the 
coast it caused a large number of vessels to be wrecked and many lives 
to be lost. The principal damage was of course done along those 
shores that lay most exposed to the sweep of the wind. The coasts 
of Maine and Connecticut were so sheltered that but little if any 
injury was done in those parts. 

Off the Isles of Shoals, fourteen schooners were engaged in fishing 
when the storm came on. One of these, a small vessel, belonging to 
the Shoals, Richard Randall, skipper, with four men on board, was 
anchored as soon as the gale was upon them, but the wind blew and 
the waves beat so furiously that the only way of escape that seemed 
open to them was to lessen as much as possible the surface upon which 
the wind could exert its force. The mainmast was thereupon cut away, 
but before this could be done the anchor had been lost, and the ves- 
sel was driven through the merciless sea until the wind abated and the 
storm was past. They were soon afterward overtaken by a sloop from 
Maine which towed them into the harbor of Salem, Mass. Two of 
the schooners off the Shoals were driven ashore at Cape Ann, and the 
men saved. Another, belonging to Kittery, Benjamin Parsons, skip- 
(86) 





HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 87 

per, was staved to pieces on tlie rocks near Thatcher's island, and 
the captain and one of the men were drowned. Still another was 
driven on the eastern point of Duck island, and dashed to pieces. 
The skipper was drowned, but the rest of the men got ashore in safety, 
though their legs, arms and other parts of their bodies were very much 
bruised. Several vessels were riding at anchor in the Shoals road, and 
tbey were sunk at their moorings. Three or four other small schooners 
were lost off the Shoals in the same storm. 

In the bay at Portsmouth, N. H., two schooners from Rye were out 
fishing, and were seen about sunset Friday night, but were never again 
heard from. On one of the vessels were sin men, John Sanders and 
his son John, John Yeaton, William Thomas and two others and two 
boys ; and on the other were Samuel Sanders, Joshua Foss, Samuel 
Sanders, jr., and two boys. Six of the men left wives and a number 
of ciiildren. How many wives were made widows and children or- 
phans by this storm is not known, but the number must have been 
large. In the joy and glow of youth and the strength of manhood, 
the men sailed out from the town, and the widows and the fatherless 
day after day eagerly watched the offing hoping against hope to wit- 
ness the approach of the vessels on which their loved ones had gone 
out ; but all in vain. 

At Piscataqua, some goods in the warehouses were damaged and at 
Portsmouth much salt was dissolved by the great tide, which floated 
lumber and wood from off the wharves. The gale blew down several 
buildings and much fence in tliat and adjoining towns. At Newbury 
and Gloucester, Mass., goods in storelwuses were also damaged. 

ship. Captain Ditnlap, master, left Newburyport as the storm 
came on, and was driven on Plum island. While pursuing its way- 

,rd course it strack a sloop belonging to Newbury, and stove it to 



^^^ can 

II oth 

ous 

H^B teenorsixtee 



At Salem, Mass., the wind prostrated fences, tore up trees, and in- 
tred bridges. On the south shore of North river, for a distance of 
mile or more, firewood, timber, all sorts of lumber, as boards, shin- 
gles and plank, also staves, barrels, hogsheads, canoes, boats, and 
other articles belonging to many different persons were so promiscu- 
ously thrown together that the owners could not ascertain which of them 
each one's particular property. About fifty cords of wood and fif- 
teen or sixteen hundred bushels of sand for scrubbing floors were carried 



I 



88 HISTORIC axJRSlS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

oflf from Mr. Barr's wharf at the North bridge. At the south side of the 
town, where most of the business was then done, the confusion and de- 
struction were much greater, vast quantities of lumber of various kinds 
and many boats being violently driven to the opposite shore. All the 
wharves were overflowed, and salt, sugar, and other perishable articles 
in the storehouses, of which there was a great amount, were destroyed 
by the water. The bridges over Forest river, one being on the sam"e 
site as the present bridge, at the lead mills, and the other farther up the 
stream, were so much damaged that they were impassable. A large 
bridge at Danversport was also totally mined. At Salem much damage 
was done to the vessels in the harbor and at the wharves. A schooner of 
large size broke away from her mooring, and daslied up against North 
bridge, being kept off the top of it with difficulty. The bridge was con- 
siderably injured. Another schooner, which was fastened at a wharf 
farther down the stream, also broke her cables and drove over a small 
sandy beach up on the grassy upland. Still another schooner of nearly 
eighly tons burden, that had lately arrived from the West Indies, broke 
away from the wharf and was driven in a similar manner up on the land 
to so great a height that it lay with its keel considerably above the usual 
high-water mark. In the southern section of the harbor were anchored 
a shiif, a snow,^ a brig, and nine other vessels. They were driven 
from their anchorage, and forced up Forest river toward Captain Gard- 
ner's mills, which then occupied the site of the lead mills. Several of 
these vessels were laden, and ready to sail for the Straits and the West 
Indies. Tlie brig, which was commanded by Captain Warren, and a 
schooner by Captain Wather were much damaged. Another schooner, 
commanded by Captain Motley, was driven so far on the land that it 
seemed impossible for the waves and wind to have performed the feat. 
The schooner of Capt. Samuel Webb was forced from its wharf 
across the harbor, and some distance up on the land of the opposite 
shore. With great difficulty the other vessels were prevented from 
leaving the wharves. Only one ship in the harbor out-rode the storm 
successfully, and that was the Antehpe, which was commanded by 
Captain Putnam, 

In the harbor of Marblehead, twenty-one brigs, schooners and sloops 
were cast ashore, but none of them were very much injured. 



» 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 89 

At Eoslon, most of the wharves were overflowed, much lumber was 
floated away, and quantities of sugar, salt, and otlier stores were de- 
stroyed. The water came up King street (now Stale street), as far as 
the head-laverti of Admiral Venion, into Dock square, about the draw- 
bridge, and into the streets nearest the seaside at the northern and 
Bouthern portions of the town, so far that it ran not only into the cel- 
lars, but into the shops and rooms of dwelling houses, compelling sev- 
eral families to retire into their chambers. Some of the stores on the 
whar\-es were almost filled with water. Fifteen or sixteen vessels were 
cast ashore on the several islands in the harbor, but few of them were 
materially injured. A schooner, with no one on board, was driven on 
Deer island, it being supiK)sed that it had drifted from Lynn or Mar- 
blehead. The men-of war and other shipping in the harbor received 
little or no damage, A day or two after the storm was over, a chest 
was found floating in the bay. It was broutjlit on shore, and found to 
contain a number of papers, among them being private accounts with 
Hezekiah BJanchard of Boston in 1 759, and copies of several orders 
from Secretary Addington to a committee of the General Court bear- 
ing dates 1706, [707 and 1708, for printing some bills of credit for 
the Province. The chest was carried to Cape Cod. Where it came 
from, and to whom it had belonged, was a mystery. 

A ship from Glasgow, but last from Newbury, commanded by Cap- 
tain Duo, was lying at anchor in Nantasket road when the storm be- 
gan. The cable that held it parted and it was driven upon the flats 
in Braintree bay, but the masts being cut away it was prevented from 
driving farther asliore. 

All the small vessels at Hingham were carried on shore, and one or 
two of about forty-five tons burden were floated upon a wharf, which 
common high tides never covered. 

Between Nantasket and Hingham a small fisliing boat was sunk. 
The pump which it carried, a mast tliat had been cut away, and a boat 
or canoe came ashore, the other mast that the craft carried, liolding 
to the rigging of the boat. The body of a fisiierman washed ashore 
on the beach, but it was not identified. He was of large size, about 
six feet in height, wearing thick boots and an under and outer jacket. 
In his trousers' pocket was found a fish-hook, and a small knife with 
two letters cut in the handle. 




90 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND, ^^^^H 

At Nantasket, Caplain Higgins, commanding a sloop bound to Con- 
necticut, was obliged to cut away his mast and bowsprit ; and the capn- 
tain of another sloop was forced to do the same. A ship bound to 
A&ica, commanded by Captain Bennet, was the only vessel at Nan- 
tasket that successfully rode out the gale. 

The day before the storm a. small fishing schooner sailed from Sa- 
lem, Mass., and was cast away in the storm at Scituatc, the five per- 
sons on board being saved. 

At Plymouth, Mass., many of the stores were blown down, and con- 
siderable other damage was done by the wind. Sixty-one vessels were 
driven ashore there, and from forty to fifty lives were lost. One of the 
vessels was bound from Rhode Inland lo Boston, commanded by Cap- 
tain Ellis. Another was a new schooner of about twenty or thirty tons 
burden, built wholly of black birch, castaway at Monument Point, and 
the vessel, with the men and everything on board was lost, bodiesof two 
of the men being found on the sand near the wreck, probably having 
washed ashore. In a pocket of the jacket on one of them was found 
a small leather pocket-book, which contained some papers, very much 
torn, — one being a bill of sale of the schooner Defiance from Lemuel 
Lattimore to Damon Latlimore of Mount Desert, and another a 
letter, dated at Mount Desert October 8, 1770, signed by Lemuel 
Lattimore and Lucretia Latlimore, and directed to their mother at 
New London, whose christian name (that being the only one discov- 
ered) was Ruth. 

At the back side of Eastham, on Cape Cod, a vessel, commanded 
by Captain Scott, and bound from Turk's island to Boston, being la- 
den with salt, was driven ashore. A Rhode Island sloop, which was 
homeward bomid from a whaling trip, was wrecked at nearly the same 
place. Another sloop, belonging to Plymouth, was driven ashore at 
Race point. The people that were on these vessels were all saved. 
A whaling schooner, which belonged in Wareham, was beaten to pieces 
on a sand bar at the entrance to the harbor of Chatham, the crew and 
oil being saved. 

At Tarpaulin cove, on Martha's Vineyard, a brig belonging in Prov- 
idence, R. L, and a schooner in Newport, both returning from whal- 
ing, were also cast away. 

As far inland as Providence, B.. I., the storm did some damage to 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 9 1 

the small vessels, and history relates the wreck at Fisher's island of a 
sloop commanded by Captain Vredenburg, that had come up from 
Newport, the greater part of the cargo being lost. 

At Newport, R. I., the spindle on the tower of Trinity church was 
broken off a little below the upper ball, but was prevented from fall- 
ing by the lightning rods on the building. Though the town was not 
much exposed to the storm, two or three stores and stables were blown 
down, and several vessels were driven ashore, some of them receiving 
considerable injury, but none were lost. 

This storm was more disastrous to the commerce on our coast than 
any other had been up to this date. Many valuable cargoes went to 
the bottom of the sea, more than a hundred vessels were wrecked, and 
a hundred lives lost. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 



The Summer of 17JI. 

THE summer of 1771 was the last of four consecutive sum- 
mere, in which showers with thuoder and ligiitning liad been 
uncommonly frequent. During this summer a considerable num- 
ber of lives were lost, and a great amount of property was destroyed. 

In the month of April, quite a number of horses and cattle were 
killed by lightning at Dan vers, Mass. 

At Stoningtdn, Conn., on Wednesday night. May 8, during a shower, 
lightning killed a horse and seven sheep, and also struck a stack of 
straw and about twenty trees in different parts of the town. 

A week from that day at noon, there was a severe shower at War- 
wick, R. 1., during which the lightning struck a large tree near the 
anchor-shop of Nathaniel Green and company, and split it in pieces. 
The electric current then ran along the roois through a stone wall 
into the shop, where it struck the pole which worked the bellows, and 
knocked down two men and a boy that were at work there, who soon 
recovered. Some of the bricks in the chimney were forced out, and 
thrown against the opposite side of the sliop with such violence that 
they were nearly pulverized. A man near Swansicut pond, about 
the same time, had his face scorched by a flash of lightning. 

At Durham, N. H., on Sunday afternoon, June 2, there was a se- 
vere shower with thunder and lightning, although the morning before 
there had been a heavy and injurious frost at Chester. Several posts 
were split to pieces by the lightning which descended during this 
shower, the damage being slight. 

On Thursday, the sixth, at Danvers, Mass., occurred a heavy shower, 
during which the lightning shattered several trees, and killed three 
oxen and a horse. A woman was also stunned by the shock, but soon 
after recovered. 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGIANIl. gj 

At North Haven, Conn., on the afternoon of the following Suoday, 
a house belonging to a Mr. Ives was struck by lightning, which tore 
the clapboards off one end of tlie house, broke the windows, and 
stunned several members of the family who were in it. 

The next day, two houses at Kensington, N. H., were struck by 
l^htning, and a person was much hurt, but finally recovered. 

At Boston, there was a shower with thunder and lightning on the 
afternoon of Friday, June ar. The ship called the Blaze-CasiU of 
Bristol, commanded by Captain Smith, was lying at the wharf of John 

» Hancock, Esq. Tlie main- topmast was struck by the liglitning, 
I which shivered it to pieces, and then came down on the mainmast, 
■which it gouged in several places. When nearly down to the deck, 
the electric current divided, and one branch of it descended to the 
steerage, where were ten persons, all of whom were knocked down 
and stuimed. The current then went down the companion-way, 
where it broke a window and did some other shght damage ; then 
entered the cabin, where it melted the gilding and painting in sev- 
eral places, and returning up the companion was heard of no more. 
There were three persons sitting in tlie cabin, all of wliom were un- 
harmed - 

On the following Monday, during a shower at Petersham, Mass., a 
cow and an ox belonging to Rev. Mr. Whitney, that were lying under 
a tree in a pasture, were killed by lightning. 

On Saturday of the same week, a young woman was stunned by 
lightning at Arlington, Mass. During the month of June there were 
more showers with thunder and lightning at Newport, R. I., than for 
many years. 4 

On Wednesday, July lo, at Hopkinton, Mass., a young man of 
twenty-two years, named Daniel Parmeter, was stacking hay in a field 
when, a shower came up, and while it rained, he sheltered himself on 
one side of the stack. When the rain was apparenlly over, he went 
to a tree near by to get some of his outer clothing that he had left 
there, and as he was stooping to take up a bottle containing some 
beer, lightning struck the tree and killed him instantly. 

More damage was done, and more people were killed and injured 

by lightning on Sunday, July 28, than ever before in New England 

I during a single day. At Stratford, a parish in the town of Fairfield, 

^■1 Conn., a shower came up bet veen eleven and twelve o'clock in the 



94 



i OF NEW ENGLAND. 



forenoon, while religious services were being conducted in the church. 
The flashes of lightning were incessant, and thunder was continually 
crashing through the air. Suddenly the church seemed to be filled 
with dazzling flames of white fire and a crasli followed, compared with 
which all others were slight. The spire of the steeple had been struck, 
and dead and wounded men were lying on the floor, groans of suf- 
ferers indicating the intense pain that lightning sometimes effects. 
The spire had been erected the preceding autumn, and was in an un- 
finished condition. Several of the rafters were shivered to atoms, 
and the great ball at their head was split into three pieces. The 
lightning, descending on all the rafters, entered the octagonal base of 
the spire, and threw the boards and trimmings on the north and south 
sides entirely off. It then ran down the four comer posts of the 
square base of the steeple, and ripped off nearly all the shingles. The 
current then continued down the front posts of the body of the church 
by the side of the entrance, and when within four feet of the bottom of 
them, it turned into the church. Directly opposite the place where it 
entered were the pews of two men, who were instantly killed. One 
of them, Capt. John Burr, was standing in his pew, leaning on his elbow 
upon the rail, his body beingeighteen inches from the post. The light- 
ning probably passed through his body into the rail of the pew, as a. 
large piece was knocked out where his elbow rested. Passing by a 
person who stood a little out of its range, the electric fluid then en- 
tered the body of Mr. Burr's brother Ozias Burr, and ran down his 
side, tearing off his shoe, and rendering his leg useless. It then passed 
through the pew door to the aisle, where it tore up the floor for some 
distance, and then went into the ground. The other man that was 
killed was David Sherman, who was in a situation similar to that of 
Captain Burr in his pew at the other side of the door. The course of 
the lightning could not be traced farther than his body, though several 
persons were stunned in that and neighboring pews, and indeed in 
many other parts of the church. The religious services, as may be 
supposed, were discontinued ; and many willing hands did what was 
necessary to bring the stunned people back to their senses, and care 
for the bodies of the dead. The double fimeral was held on the follow- 
ing day, when the pastor. Rev. Mr. Hobart, preached an excellent and 
appropriate sermon toa large congregation. 

On the afternoon of the same day the lightning caused serious in- 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 9.5 

"jury to several persons in New Haven, At about half past one, out 
of the southwestern sky, came a very dense and dark cloud, 'from 
which terrible flashes of lightning, accompanied by heavy thunder, 
issued with unusual frequency. Ten minutes after the cloud was first 
observed, when it had come nearly overhead, out of it came three 
streams of lightning, accompanied by deafening thunder, one clap 
succeeding another almost without intermission. The last was much 
more awful than the others, being a stream of dazzling flame, which 
went apparently from the northwest to the southeast, passing so near 
the vane of the village church that it was driven around the spindle 
with great velocity. The lightning struck a tree about twenty-four 
rods from the church and instantly killed three horses and a colt that 
were under it. From the tree the electricity entered a Sabbath-day' 
house belonging to Capt Joseph Pierpont, the nearest comer of which 
was not more than five feet from the tree, though the lightning left no 
mark on the building to indicate its course. In tlie house were Captain 
Pierpont and several of the parishioners with their children. Captain 
Pierponl's wife Lydia, Abel Brocket and his wife, and Giles Pierpont 
and bis wife were sitting on a bench, and all five were struck by the 
lightning at the same time. Mr. Brocket had several holes burned 
through his shirt, and his flesh was severely burned but much less 
than tlie others. The lightning ran down the underside of Mr. Pier- 
pont's thigh and leg, singeing off the hair, and burning the flesh about 
bis loins so badly that it was as red as scalding water could have 
made it. Upon the bodies of the ladies rose blisters of a vivid red 
color, like the flesh of Mr. Pierpont, they being burned much more than 
the men. The lightning caused them all, with the exception of Mr, 
Kerpont, to instantly rise up from the bench, and when the shock 
had passed they all fell together upon the seat. Mr. Pierpont remained 
fixed to his seat, and could not move without assistance. Their flesh 
burned as though they were in the midst of a fire, their blood seemed 
to have almost stopped circulating, and breathing distressed them. As 

"UoBlof the people iQ early dHys lived ftr from thecharcli, and they remnlneililiirine 
the Inlermlsaion ljet« eeii Iho iiioroing nnd aRornoon eervloea, bringing tlieir iuTiehes 
wilti Ihein. Tlie oliiimlies were not heated, nnd DeHrthemirere erected Hmall biiildin;^ 
With BrB'plBceB, In whtch Area were kindled to nimiBli heat to the room and couIb for 
the foot-BtoveB tliat wem need iu the church. The Sabbub-dsr hoUBsB, aa they were 
ea11ed,were genernlly bnilt by one or more porsotiB, rarely if eyer more than one be- 
' v erected at a churcli, and they Ibraiihed a c-omrartable reaon. 




9$ HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

soon as possible a physician bled them, and it was found that there 
was considerable separalion between the serous and globular parts of 
the blood, which evidenced the intense shock that they received. Two 
children of Giles Pierpont were reclining in the arms of their parents 
or friends who were sitting on the bench, but they received no in- 
jury. A large number of people were in the house at the time, but 
none other besides the five already mentioned were injured. 

During the severe thunder shower at Wallingford, Conn., on Friday, 
August 2, the clouds came from opposite directions, one fi-om the 
southwest, the other from the northeast, and met over the town, pro- 
ducing as terrific a shower as had ever been known there. The light- 
ning knocked down the weather-cock on the old church, and shattered 
the steeple considerably, making a large hole in its roof. This was the 
third time the weather-cock and steeple had suffered a similar calam- 
ity. The first time it was struck was while it was being finished, 
and a young man was at work upon it. The shock threw him off, 
and he fell a distance of about eighty-sis feet, living about three- 
quarters of an hour and suffering excruciating agony. The houses 
of Mr. Nott, Mr. Isaac and Hezekiah Johnson were struck, the first 
and last named houses being about four miles apart, one of them in 
the line of one shower as it came up, and the other in the course of 
the shower from the opposite direction. A negro belonging to Mrs. 
Merriraan was also struck, but he did not seem to notice it very much. 
On the same day the steeple of the South church in Hartford was 
greatly damaged by lightning, probably in theshowerwhich came from 
the northerly direction. 

At about two o'clock on the afternoon of the next day the church 
at VVestford, Mass., was severely injured by lightning. On the same 
day, at the neck in Providence, R. I., lightning set fire to a brush fence 
belonging to the estate of John Merrett, who had recently died, and 
seventy or eighty yards of it were burned. At Palmer's river, two 
cattle were killed within a few rods of the house of Dea. William 
Blanding, 

During this week, a barn at Chebacco parish, in Ipswich, ] 
and another at Andover, were set on fire by the lightning and con- 
sumed with the hay that was in them. 

Tuesday, August 6, was the hottcRt day, except one other, that had 
been experienced in Salem, Mass., for twenty-two years, the ther- 




mometer indicating ninety one degrees above zero indoors at noon. 
The heat had been very oppressive for a long time, notwithstanding 
rain fell in such great quantities that cereal crops were injured by it, 
The severest thunder shower, that the people then living in Fairfield, 
Conn., remembered occurred on Monday, September 2. The whole 
sky seemed to be filled with lightning for nearly four hours, consid- 
erable damage being done by it. The concussions of the air were 
so powerful that the houses shook and rocked, and pewter dishes 
were jarred off the shelves on which they stood. The tavern of Abel 
Wheeler, situated near Black Rock harbor, was struck by the light- 
ning, which so thoroughly permeated it that traces of its course could 
be seen in every room. Mr. Wheeler and several members of his fam- 
ily were stunned, but no one was much injured. Evidently, the light- 
ning struck the top of the chimney, which was entirely thrown down, 
and the post on which the tavern sign-board hung was shivered from 
top to bottom. At the western end of the town plot, a large bam 
belonging to David Barlow, filled with wheat, barley, oats and Eng- 
lish hay, was set on fire by the lightning, and with its contents en- 
tirely consumed. The house of William Bennett, jr., was also struck 
and he was injured to a considerable extent. A few moments later 
another flash came and his shop, which stood on the opposite side 
of the street, was struck, six swine that were lying near it being 
killed. In Stratford, Conn., a man by the name of Curtis had an ox 
died in the same way. Many trees were stmck, and large numbers of 
sheep, geese, etc., were killed in many localities. At New Haven, the 
thunder was very heavy, the lightning sharp, and rain fell in torrents 
for some time. The shower arrived there in the night, and continued 
with great severity for five or six hours, the lightning striking in several 
places near the town. After the shower was over the air was very 
)pressive, and the people generally complained of dull pains in the 
id, and of stupid feelings. 

The next forenoon. New Haven suffered from another shower dur- 
ing which the lightning struck the masts of two sloops and a brig, 
that were lying in the harbor. The sloops were but slightly injured, 
but the masts of the brig were knocked into fragments. The people 
board had gone below a few minutes before on account of the 
so that none of them were injured. 




(49 Bond sew 



CHAPTER XXX. 



The Hurricane on Merrimac River in 1773. 

ONE of the most disastrous tornadoes or hurricanes that has ever 
been experienced in New England occurred in Massachusetts 
along the Merrimac river; Saturday, August 14, 1773. It com- 
menced its havoc a few tods above Deer island, and took its course 
up the northern bank of the stream. 

During the preceding night, which was one of intense darkness, 
there had been a hard rain, and a gentle breeze had come from the 
east all the morning. At a quarter before eight o'clock, there had 
been no perceptible increase of its strength, but a moment later, un- 
announced, the hurricane, terrible in its irresistible force, swept up the 
Merrimac. Its effect first appeared upon the water in the river, 
which tolled up its northern bank so furiously that the people near 
it were afraid that they would be washed away by a tidal wave. 
They had hardly glanced toward the stream, when the wind struck 
their houses, and they were struggling to free themselves in the cel- 
lar and amongst the niins elsewhere. Such was the manner in which it 
buist upon Salisbury point. In a moment more it had crossed the 
Powow, and laid low the village of Amesbury. Speeding up the river 
with almost the quickness of lightning it swept through Haverhill, 
causing destruction ail along its path. Tiiere its force abated, and 
beyond it did no damage. 

Its general course was westward following up the river, but in differ- 
ent localities it seemed to bio win other directions. This isaccounted for 
by the tornado having the character of a cyclone, which is a revolving 
rather than a direct force. At Haverhill, a cloud which came up in the 
southwest was supposed by the people to have had some connection 
with the tornado. The wind blew about three minutes, at times whirl- 
ing with surprising rapidity, and carried along with it not only lum- 
ber, fences, trees, and all sorts of movable things, but the frightened 
C98) 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 99 

inhabitants themselves, who were let down upon the ground in safety 
after being carried some distance. The debris of some of the build- 
ings was scattered in all directions for four or five rods. 
The territory for one-fourth of a mile up the Powow river, which sepa- 
U Kited Salisbury and Amesbury, and for three- fourths of a mi!e below the 
I Powow and the same distance above, on the northern shore of the 
k Mertimac, were the portions of those two towns that suffered most. At 
Haverhill, the wind continued near the river, over the hill which is 
now known as Mount Washington, and the principal part of the dam- 
age done in the town was in that section. 

Only those who have seen the work of a cyclone have an adequate 
conception of what it is able to accomplish. It is difficult to form 
an idea of its force, and the way in which it acts. This instance of 
the display of its powers was said to be almost beyond description. 
Entire orchards and trees of all kinds and sizes were eradicated, stout 
oaks, strong walnuts and lowering elms being twisted and broken, and 
some of ihem thrown into the middle of the Powow river. Fields of 
com were levelled, many of the fence rails were shivered to atoms 
and scattered over the ground for a great distance, and buildings of 
every kind were more or less injured. In the middle of its path 
every movable thing was driven before it; and the air was filled 
with pieces of a great variety of articles which were hurled along with 
impetuosity against houses and people who were out of doors, so ihat 
many lives were in great danger. Much household property was de- 
stroyed, and some was never found. Large oak planks were taken 
from the stocks of the ship builders and hurled, almost with the 
velocity of cannon balls, through the roofs of houses ; and more than" 
one hundred and fifty buildings of all kinds were blown down or in- 
jured. In the buildings when they fell, there must have been more 
than two hundred persons. When the 'people perceived the houses 
ialh'ng over their heads, they sought the cellars for safety, or endeav- 
ored to get out of doors and run. Most of them escaped unhurt, 
others received slight wounds, and a few were dangerously injured. 
No life was lost, and on Salisbury point, where the tornado displayed 
its greatest power, no bones were broken, nor any one dangerously 
wounded. This is something wonderful as the buildings and chim- 
neys sometimes fell in such a manner that the people were fastened 
lown, and in some instances were almost entirely buried, being affer- 
i dug out by their neighbors. 



^^^^own, and in 
^^^bard dug out 






lOO HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. ^^^H 

At Salisbury point eight dwelling houses belonging to Archelaus 
Adams, Joseph Adams, John Bartlett, Issachar Currier, Thomas Hack- 
ett, Joseph Hudson, Capt. Joseph Stockman, and John Webster, 
were completely levelled with the ground, fifteen others were un- 
roofed, and twenty-six more were considerably damaged, amounting 
to forty-nine in all that were injured. Twelve barns were also blown to 
pieces, their fragments beingstrewn over the ground around their sites, 
and five more were greatly damaged. Four blacksmith siiops were 
badly injured, three of them being blown down. Those that fell 
belonged to Joseph Adams, Ezra Merrill, and Lieul, Joseph Page, 
and the other to Meletiah Merrill. Several persons were injured by 
the falling of these shops, though slightly. Two new carpenter shops 
were injured, and two warehouses were blown down. Issachar Cur- 
rier's store was demolished ; and in the store of Captain Hackett, 
sah, sugar, grain, fish, and other articles were damaged. In the fall 
of the barn of Jacob Stevens a chaise was crushed. Oliver Osgood's 
wife was wounded, and he and his son were buried by the falling 
chimney, being dug out unharmed save for a few bruises. His house 
was unroofed and wrecked, the chimneys falling with the roof, A 
small schooner, that was owned by Mr. Osgood was also much dam- 
aged. Samuel Webster's house, which was almost new, was unroofed, 
and the floors forced down into the cellar by the falling of one of the 
chimneys. In one of the rooms was a bed, on which was lying a sick 
child, and the child, the bed, and everything but the walls of the 
house, were heaped together in the cellar, with tons of bricks on lop. 
The child was so buried that it took willing hands more than half an 
hour to complete the rescue, and strange to say he was but slightly 
injured. The six other persons in the ruins of the house escaped 
unhurt. 

Most of the buildings across the Powow, in Amesbury, were com- 
paratively new, and the destruction of them was not quite as com- 
plete as in Salisbury. The house of Theophilus Foot, hoivever, was 
entirely blown down, eight more houses were unroofed, and twenty- 
two others were more or less injured. Sixteen barns were levelled 
with the ground, and five others considerably damaged. Three black- 
smith shops belonging to David Blazedell, Richard Currier, and Eli 
Gale, were blown down, and another, belonging to Thomas Pearsons, 

s partly unroofed. Richard Currier's mill-house was also blown 
down, and the hatter shop of Moses Chase was partly unroofed. A 




» 



HISTORIC CTORMS OF HEW ENGLAND. lOI 

looper's and also a barber's sliop were damaged, and Captain Bai- 
workhouse and storehouse, each measuring forty by twenty feet, 
stories in height, were both blown down. EHphalet Swett's 
house was half unroofed, the barn moved down into a gully, and his 
workshop considerably blown apart. Among the incidents of the 
gale ill Amesbury was the breaking of the bones of both legs of an 
aged lady who was struck by a large oak plank from one of the ves- 
:Mis on the stocks, as she was fleeing from her falling house. WlJenthe 
Cyclone struck the village, Captain Smith, whose home was in Bev- 
triy, was sitting in a sail-maket'a loft over Captain Bailey's warehouse, 
land in a moment the building was swept away as quickly and easily 
as if it had been a child's card house, and the fragments were scat- 
tered far and wide. Captain Smith was found lying by apiece of timber 
on the bank of the Powow river, ninety-four feel from the loft where he 
wassitting. One of his legs was broken, and his head and other parts of 
his person suffered severe contusions; yet he survived. A white oak 
post, measuring fourteen feet in length, twelve inches wide and ten 
inches thick, was carried one hundred and thirty-eight feet. A very 
large bundle of shingles was taken from the ground and thrown three 
hundred and thirty feet in a direction opposite to that in which the 
post was blown, and at right angles to that in which two vessels, then 
on the stocks and unfinished, we;e carried. These vessels were each 
of ninety tons burden, and were lifttd from the blocks on which they 
rested, being canied sidewise through the air twenty-two feet. 

In Haverhill, the cyclone attacked a large dwelling house, and 
wrenched away every board and rib from the roof, shaking the chim- 
neys to their foutidations. This was the residence of Mrs. Bradley, 
Silver hill, which was in modern times the home of Hon. Moses 
Wingate. The family were much frightened, and put in great conster- 
lliation. Mrs. Bradley ran to the door, followed by the other members 
of the family that were in the house, to flee to the bam, which stood 
but a few rods away, thinking it would be a safe place of retreat, it 
being nearly new, and filled with about thirty tons of hay. Before 
she could get the door open, they were all thrown into the greatest 
confusion, and ran hither and thither amid the faUing bricks, frag- 
ments of boards and timbers of various sizes and shapes, that had fallen 
from the roof of the house, and broken glass C-om the windows, every 
one of which had been rendered paneless. When they glanced in 



E03 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. ^^^H 

the direction of the barn-yard nothing but the yard was there, the 
barn, having been swept away, was lying in fragments in adjoining 
lots, some of the pieces having been carried three miles in a north- 
easterly direction, A valuable horse thatwasin the barn escaped un- 
harmed, the large quantity of hay that was with him probably being 
the cause of his preservation. In the attic of the house was a bundle 
of wool, which was carried by the wind to Great pond. No persons' 
limbs were broken in this town. Five barjis were wholly destroyed, 
many houses, barns, and other buildings much damaged, and nearly 
five hundred apple trees torn from the orchards. The main force of 
the wind seemed to blow a little back from the immediate shore of 
the river, thus leaving the greater part of the buildings along the 
wharves uninjured. 

If we could have cast a glance at the territory in Salisbury and 
Amesbury where the tornado did its most effective work, instead of 
seeing the pleasant luxuriant fields, and streets lined with commodi- 
ous and well-kept residences, stores and work-siiops, and hearing 
the hum of business, the carpenter's hammer, the ringing anvil, 
and the ship-builder's mallet, we would have seen piles and rows of 
broken boards and timbers, parts of chimneys standing above their 
fire places, houses and barns without roofs, being rent and twisted, 
the roots of gigantic trees with rocks and earth still clinging to them, 
and would have heard the sound of falling timbers and cries for help 
from many a heap of ruins. We cannot form an adequate idea of what 
the wind did in this strip of territory, measuring a quarter of a mile 
wide, and a mile and a half long. 

The people suffered greatly from the loss of their houses and fur- 
niture, their bams and the hay that was in them, their places of bus- 
iness, tools and property stored in warehouses, most of that upon 
which the force of the wind came being lost or destroyed. The 
people ill the towns around sympathized with the sufferers, and made 
contributions for their assistance, the churches in Portsmouth, N. H., 
and other places taking collections for their benefit. 





THE New England coast is probably the most perilous of any" 
to be found on either shore of the United States. It is generally 
bold, "stem and rock-bound," and Cape Cod has extensive and 
dangerous sand bars that have been the scene of many a shipwreck. 
Storms have been frequent on out shores, and until the number of light- 
houses were multiplied the loss of property and life continually in- 
creased with the growth of commerce. The government has now made 
known to the navigator each dangerous point and bar and hidden reef; 
but too late to change the history of the early storms. 

On the night of Monday, November 21, 177^}, occurred a violent 
rain storm, the wind blowing from the east-southeast with the force 
of a gale. Out on the ocean it was about as severe as any that had 
been known, and several vessels foundered. The brig Polly, belonging 
to Piscataqua, and commanded by Captain Jackson, arrived at Salem, 
Mass., from St. Kitts, the day after the storm, and the master re- 
ported that the heaviest of the gale was at midnight, when he was off 
Cape Cod, the wind continuing to blow until five o'clock in the morn- 
ing. The people on the vessel thought the wind was much stronger 
than any they had ever before known on the ocean, though some of 
them were old sailors and had followed the sea for more than a score 
of years. Their foresail, mainsail, maintopsail and close-reefed fore- 
topsail were split, and the sea broke in the vessel abafl, stove in her 
dead lights, which had been well secured, and entered the cabin in 
large streams, until it was filled. The seamen were much alarmed, 
and expected every moment that the vessel would go to the bottom 
with all on board ; but she kept above the water, and arrived at the 
land in safety. The wind was so strong that Captain Jackson sailed 
under a close-reefed foretopsail from Cape Cod to Baker's Island 
breakers in Salem harbor, a distance of more than forty-five miles, in 

(103) 



104 



HISTORIC STORMS OF KEW ENGLAND. 



about six hours. Captain Cliapman, in a schooner, lost his masts 
and rigging somewhete off the coast of New Hampshire, while com- 
ing from Newfoundland. He arrived at the harbor of Salem, Mass., 
on the third day after the storm, having succeeded in doing so with 
extreme difficulty. He had got within ten or twelve miles of the 
shore when the storm drove him from his course. 

There were several wrecks on the coast of Massachusetts, belweea 
Cape Cod and Cape Ann. On the back of Cape Cod, a brig was 
wrecked and the life of only one seaman saved. Two vessels, a brig 
and a schooner, were seen bottom upwards off Plymouth. At Mar- 
blehead, three or four vessels broke away from or dragged their 
anchors, and were driven on shore, receiving much damage. One of 
them a sloop, belonging to Colonel Lee, came from the eastward 
loaded with wood, and was bilged, the people being saved. In the 
harbor of Salem, a sloop that ha.d come from Connecticut with a 
cargo of grain, was driven on shore and gready damaged. A schooner, 
belonging to Thomas Russell, a merchant of Charlestown, lying at 
Blaney's wharf, was driven with such violence against the wharf that 
her quarter deck was stove in, and one of her sides greatly damaged. 
Several other vessels were driven ashore near Stage point, but the 
tide having begun to ebb, they were gotten off at the next tide with- 
out much injury. At Beverly, a brig belonging to Timothy Fitch, Esq., 
of Boston, was driven on the mussel bed near the old ferry-way, but 
was gotten off with little damage. Captain Perkins in a sloop, from 
the eastward, laden wilh wood, while crowding sail to clear the Sal- 
vages, off Cape Ann, was upset, and the vessel sank. The lives of 
the people were saved by their boat. A brig from Newfoundland, and 
a sloop foundered on the back of Cape Ann, and all the people who 
were on board both vessels perished. 





CHAPTER XXXII. 



The Dark Day of lySo. 



i 



THE date of Friday, May 19, 1780, is written in the annals of 
New England as that of "The Dark Day," when the light of 
the sun seemed to be almost taken away from the earth, and a 
strange darkness filled the hours that should have been brightest, bring- 
ing fear, anxiety and awe into the minds of the people, who generally 
believed that it was the darkening of the sun and moon preparatory to 
the day of the consummation of all things, some perhaps expecting 
the appearance in the clouds of the Son of Man. It was undoubt- 
edly equal to the darkness that overspread Judea during the hours 
that our Savior was dying upon the cross. 

From about the first of the month, great tracts of forest along 
Lake Champlain, extending down to the vicinity of Ticonderoga, were 
on fire. New settlements were being made in northern New Hamp- 
shire and in Canada near the New Hampshire line, and the settlers 
were burning over their forests preparatory to cultivation after the 
manner practised by the later setders of northern New England.' 

Pieces of burnt leaves were continually falling, and the rain water 
that fell during this period in southern New Hampshire was covered 
with a scum-like soot which, on the Piscataquog river, says the His- 



1 The earlj- b 


nlera of llie nor 


hem an 


1 north 


aater 


n portion 


or the New 


England 


eUtes cleared 


leir laud by Are. 


They a 






r in reUli] 


Stbeglaat pines, one 


ftlllngabovaa 
















In tbe Hntamn tSey wonlrl lele 


tthegr 






areil, and 


blaiB their 


■OB along 


Ite border. Tl 




«r won 


1 then 




nl in cm 






lot fcbout half t 




high, leaving t 


cm eCanding un 




all in the 


game condili nil 
















The men the 


Iiflttenlly waited forlhe 




irlnds 


or March 


to swrep ih 


■ough the 


*cMdi. aod lilow down the lialf 






y renion 


twaa desire 


MhB»e 








Chech 




wonld 




e end or 


the lot entirely off. letting il fall 




one, a 






■ minute or tw 










nldbefiilllnfrtotheennh with 


« grand and Wi 


TlDo crash. In a 


few mo 




10 lot wo 


Hid be piled 


upon the 














('°5) 






I06 HlSraRIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

tory of Weare, N. H., was in some places six inches deep. The air 
had been very tliick and iieavy witli smoke while these fires existed, 
and at Melrose, Mass., a high hill only two miles away could not be 
seen from Monday till Thursday of the week in which the dark day 
occurred. Through this period the sun seemed unusually red, as it 
often does when the air is dense with smoke. In the vicinity of Bos- 
ton, on the afternoon before the dark day, a breeze sprang up, driving 
all the smoke to the south, causing the air the next day to be free 
from dense clouds of smoke, fog and haze, and making it purer though 
the sky was none the less dark. At sunset, a very dark cloud-bank 
appeared in the south and west, where it remained all night. In south- 
ern New Hampshire on the same night the wind changed from the 
west to the east, and a dense fug was brought in from the ocean. 

On the morning of the ever- memorable day, the wind came from 
the east, though there were other currents from various directions. 
The sun rose clear, continued lo be seen for a short time, and was 
then overcast. The wind changed to the southwest, setting in mo- 
lion the foliage of the trees, and bringing back the clouds. It soon 
became lowery, and from out the black clouds, that had arisen sudden- 
ly and quickly and were now overhead, lightning shot its livid tongues, 
thunder rolled and rain fell, though not in great quantity. The thun- 
der and lightning occurred principally in southern New Hampshire, 
being hardly noticed in Massachusetts, but as far as we have learned 
no damage was caused by the shower. Considerable rain fell as far 
north and east as Berwick, in Maine, but very little south of New 
Hampshire. 

Toward nine o'clock the clouds seemed to be breaking away, they 
grew thinner and gradually the sun threw more light upon the land. 
A peculiar yellow tinge was cast over everything. Some described it as 
of a brassy color, while others spoke of it as having a coppery appear- 
ance. Doubtless it resembled the "yellow day" which was experi- 

enrth In a mnsB at the most cambuatlble material to the depth orivrenty feet. As soon 
ns 11)0 aoow Imd Bone and the limlia hud hconmo [inrtinUy dry, tn April or May, arter 
proper precaiitionB hud been tnked, Are would be pinued under one eud of the bngo 
|ille. and for a week It would burn until the boughs and the great logs nero almost en. 
tlrel; converted Into SBhea, The land waa not onl; cleared of wood by thia proceu, 
buttbeHSheawereanexcDllBDt fertilizer, and in them mixed with the little soli whioh 
WfiB grubbed np between the logs and eliimpa, the corn wna planted, atrong large 
Btulka apringlug up and bearing abundant cropa of golden cars. 



tic STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND, I07 

enced here in 1881, but that of 1780 was more intense. The earth, 
rocks, trees, buildings, and water were robed in this strange enchant- 
ing hue, wUich seemed lo entirely change the aspect of all things. A 
few minutes after nine a dark dense cloud gradually rose out of the 
west and spread itself until the heavens were entirely covered, except 
at the horizon, where a narrow rim of light remained. 

A few minutes later the sky was as dark as it usually is at nine 
o'clock on a summer evening, and at that hour in the morning ladies 
in Ipswich, Mass., who were weaving were compelled to postpone 
their work for want of light. 

At ten o'clock rain began to fall at Mebose, Mass., and the heav- 
ens grew very dark, the light space that had been seen at the horizon 
all the morning having vanished. Women stood on their thresholds, 
looking outupon the dark landscape with anxious, curious expressions 
upon their faces, while the little ones stood at their sides, taking hold 
of their skirts, their little hearts filled wiih fear. Husbands and sons 
returned from the fields where they were engaged in planting, and 
saw the ubiquitous candle of the time sending its faint gleams into the 
brooding darkness. The carpenter left his tools, the blacksmith his 
forge, and the tradesman his counter. Schools were dismissed, and 
with pale faces and trembling hearts the children went home finding 
there no answer to their queries, and travellers put up at the nearest 
farmhouse until the wonderful darkness should be past. A common 
fear as well as joy unites human hearts. "Whatisit?" "What does 
it mean ?" "What is coming ?' ' queried every one of himself or of his 
neighbor. One of two things seemed certain to most minds, either a 
hurricane such as was never known before was about to strike, or it 
was the last day when the "elements shall melt with fervent heat, the 
earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." 

Shortly after eleven o'clock the darkness had reached its height, and 
for hours New England was enveloped in this seemingly unnatural 
gloom. Candles were a necessity both indoors and out for the tran- 
saction of ordinary business, and dinner tables were lighted by them. 
At twelve it was as dark as evening, common print could not be read, 
by ihe best of eyes, time could not be ascertained from clock or watch 
(aces, and domestic work of the household had to be done by can- 
dle light, its aid being necessary even in going about the house. 
„ Fires on the hearth shone as brightly as on a moonless evening iQ 



^^^L Fires on th 



I 



I08 HISTORIC STORMS OF N 

late autumn, and the candle or fire light threw distinct shadows on 
the walls. Objects could be distinguished but a short distance away, 
and everything bore the appearance and gloom of night. At Ha- 
verhill a person twenty rods away could not be seen, and one person 
could not be distinguished from another in a room with three large 
windows in it. 

The effect on the animal kingdom was the same that the approach 
of night produces. Fowls retired to their roosts, mounted them, and 
tucked their heads under their wings, going to sleep as quietly and 
assuredly as if it had been sunset rather than noon. As the appear- 
ance of twilight prematurely came on, cattle lowed and gathered at 
the pasture bars, waiting to be let out that they might return to their 
barns and make ready for another night's repose, apparently forgetful 
of the short lapse of time since they had gone out to their daily feed- 
ing. Sheep huddled by the fences, or in the open fields in circles. 
Frogs peeped as they were accustomed to do as soon as the sun went 
down. The day birds sang their evening songs and then retired to 
their recesses, their places being taken by night birds. The whip- 
poorwills appeared and sang their songs, as their evening habit was, 
woodcocks whisded, and bats came out of their hiding places and flew 
about. Near fences and buildings many birds were found dead, prob- 
ably having fiown against these objects in the darkness, and been 
killed by the contact. 

The effect on human minds was very different. They knew that 
night had not come, and that the darkness was due to some cause, but 
whether natural or supernatural they could not ascertain. In Boston 
one of Rev. Dr. Byles" parishioners sent her servant to him when the 
darkness was grossest asking whether or not in his opinion it did not 
portend an earthquake, hurricane or some other elementary commo- 
tion. "Give my respectful compliments to your mistress," facetiously 
replied the Doctor, "and tell her I am as much in the dark as she is." 

People knew of the prophecy of the darkening of the sun and moon, 
and ignorant and learned alike were not certain that this was not 
at least a token of the dreadful day of universal destruction. Mel- 
ancholy and awe filled most minds, many thinking that the sun of 
mercy had set, and the night of despair, of judgment, and the end 
of all things was at hand. People gazed upon each other in wonder 
and astonisliment. It was popularly believed that the revolutionary 



< 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. IO9 

war, which for more than five years had been waged, was the fulfil- 
ment of that other prophecy that announces "wars and rumors of 
wars" as coming before "the great and dreadful day of the Lord." 
A sort of superstitious horror brooded over all the people. It influ- 
enced the minds of ail classes, of the strong and learned as well as 
Ihe weak and ignorant. At many a dinner table no food was eaten, 
and the family sat pale and silent. The more excitable persons ran 
about the streets, exclaiming The "day of judgment is at hand !" 
while the more conservative were almost convinced that it was in- 
deed true, though they did not express themselves. Many of those 
who had wronged their neighbors went to them and confessed, ask- 
ing their forgiveness ; others dropped on their knees in the fields and 
prayed, perhaps for the first and last time in their lives ; and some 
sought to hide themselves thinking thus to escape the "great day of 
God's wrath," Astonishment, anxiety and fear were manifested in 
almost every countenance, though some tried to hide their feelings, 

A party of sailors undismayed by the unaccountable gloom around 
them, and with bravado, went noisily through the streets of Salem, 
Mass., crying out to ladies who passed them, "Now you may off your 
rolls and high caps." 

An incident with a certain humorous tinge took place at Medford, 
Mass. When the day was darkest, a negro, named Pomp, who was 
very much frightened, went to his master, and said, "Massa, the day 
of judgment has come: what shall I do?" "Why, Pomp, you'd 
helter wash up clean, and put on your Sunday clothes." Perceiving 
that his master showed no signs of fear. Pomp began to draw his at- 
tention to evidence of his conviction. "Massa, it has come ; for the 
hens are ail going to roost," "Well, Pomp, they show their sense," 
"And the tide, Massa, in the river has stopped running." "Well, 
Pomp, it always does at high water." "But, Massa, it feels cold ; and 
this darkness grows more and more." "So much the better, Pomp, 
for the dayof judgment will be all fire and light." Pomp concluded 
that he would wait for something further to turn up before preparing 
for the great day. 

The legislatureof Connecticut was in sessionat Hartford on that day. 
The deepening gloom enwrapped the city, and the rooms of the state 
house grew dark. The journal of the house of representatives reads, 
"None could see to read or write in the house, or even at a window, 
or distmguish persons at a snaall distance, or perceive any distinc- 



riO HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND, 

don of dress, etc., in the circle of attendants. Therefore, at eleven 
o'clock adjourned the house till two o'clock afternoon." The coun- 
cil was also in session, and several of its members exclaimed, "It is 
the Lord's great day." There was a motion to adjourn, but Col, 
Abraham Davenport, a member from Stamford, quickly arose and 
with great moral courage and reason said, "I am against the ad- 
journment. Either the day of judgment is at hand or it is not. If 
it is not there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I wish to be 
found in the line of my duty. I wish candles to be brought." Whittier 
has put the relation of this incident into a most befitting dress, and 
introduced it among the stories told in his "Tent on the Beach," as 
follows : — 

" In the old days (a custom laid uside 
Wilh breeches and cocked hats) , the people sent 
Their wisest men lo make the public laws. 
And >□, from a. bcuwn homestend, where the sound 
Drinks the small tribute of the Mianaa, 
Waved over by the woods of Rippowams, 
And hallowed by pure lives and trangutl deaths, 
Stamford sent up lo the councils of the state 
- Wisdom and grace in Abraham DavenporL 

" Twas on a May-day of the far old year 
Seventeen hundred eighty, that there fell 
Over the bloom and sweet life of the spring, 
Over the fteah earth and the heaven of noon, 
A honor of great darkness, like the night 
In day of which the Norland sagas tell, 
The twilight of the Gods. The low-hung sky 
Was black with ominous clouds, save where its lim 
Was fringed with a dull glow, like that which climbs 
The crater's sides from the red hell below. 



" Birds ceased lo sing, and all the barn-yard fowls 
Roosted; the Cattle at the pasture bars 
Lowed, and looked homeward; hats on leathern wings 
Flitted abroad; the sounds of labor died; 
Men prayed and women wept; all ears grew sharp 
To hear the doom-blast of the trumpet shatter 
The black sky, that the dreadful face of Christ 
Might look from the rent clouds, not as he looked 
A loving guest at Bethany, but stern 
As Justice and inexorable Law. 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 



e-huuse, dim 



s ghosts. 






" Meanwhile in the olii ! 
Sat the lawgivers o( Connecticut 
Trembling benealh [heir legisbt 
■II is the Lord's great day ! Let u 
Some said; and then as if with one accord, 
All eyes were lamed to Ahraham Dnvcnporl. 
He rose, glow clearing with bis stately voice 
The intolerable hush. 'This well may he 
The day of judgment which the world awaits; 
But he it so, or not, I only know 
My present duty, and mj Lord's cominand 
To occupy till ho come. So at the post 
Where he hath set me in his providence, 
I choose, for one, lo meet him face to face, — 
No faithless servant frightened from my task. 
But ready when the Lord of the harvest calls ; 
And therefore, with all reverence, I would say. 
Let God do his work, we will see to ours. 
Bring in the candles !' And they brought them in- 
Then by the flaring lights the speaker read, 
Albeit with husky voice and shaking hands, 
An act to amend an act to regulate 
The shad and fllewive fisheries. Whereupon 
Wisely and well spake Abraham Davenport. 
Straight lo the question, wilh no figures of speech. 
Save the ten Arab signs, yet not without 
The shrewd, dry humor natural lo the man; 
His awe-struck colleagues listening alt tbe while, 
Between the pauses of his argument, 
To hear the thunder of the wrath of God 
, Break from the hollow trumpet of the clond. 

'" And there he stands in memory to this day. 
Erect, self-poised, a rugged face half seen 
Against the background of unnatural dark, 
A witness to the ages as they pass, 
That simple duty hath no place for fear." 



: Salem, Mass., Dr. Nathaniel Whitaker's congregation came 
iher at their church, and he preached a sermon, in which he 
maintained that the darkness was divinely sent foT the rebuke of the 
people for their sins. In many otheT towns church bells were rung to 
call people together for religious services, and crowds attended, Mul- 




h f 



1 



I 



f h 



f h 11 



d by 



Igh 
h lln 



h hUbdk d hggfh dh 

1 gh h d h I h 11 p 1 . 

the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark ; I will cover the sun 
with a cloud, and the moon slial] not give her light. All the bright 
lights of heavens will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon 
thy land, saith the Lord God."^ "The sun shall be turned into dark- 
ness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible 
day of the Lord come j"^ "Immediately after the tribulation of those 
days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her 
light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the 
heavens shall be shaken : And then shall appear the sign of the Soa 
of Man in heaven : and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, 
and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven 
with power and great glory ;"■* "And I beheld wlien he had opened 
the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake ; and the sun be- 
came black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood,"* 
The sermons also were founded upon such texts. In the middle of 
the day, with their families around them, devout fathers reverently read 
aloud from the sacred volume, and then knelt and prayed. Pious men 
were sought out by their neighbors for advice and consolation. The 
Lamb of God wa.s pointed out to them as the only refuge at all times ; 
and some of the more zealous christians went with lighted lanterns, 
from house to house, delivering at each door the message of mercy 
and salvation. 

About two o'clock in the afternoon, when a little rain fell at Nek- 
ton, Mass., the darkness had begun to abate, and the horizon to grow i 
lighter. It still remained for some time as dark as a moonlit night, 
and housekeepers could not see how to perform their ordinary work 
without the aid of candles until later in the afternoon. As the sky 
grew lighter the yellow brassy appearance of the morning returned, 
and remained until an hour or two before sundown, when the sun 

■.roe1ii;3l. •Millthon- iii»; 29.30. 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. II3 

was seen, shining through the murky nir with a very red iiue. When 
it began to grow light the cocks on their roosts were crowing all 
around as if a new day had dawned, and followed by the hens they 
Boon appeared in the yards again. 

After sundown the clouds again came overhead, and it grew dark 
very fast, the evening being as remarkable as the day. The moon 
had become full the preceding day, and this evening rose at nine 
o'clock ; but in spite of that the night was the darkest llial the peo- 
ple of New England have ever seen. It was as nearly total as could 
be imagined, and was almost palpable. A person could not see his 
hand when he held it up, nor a sheet of white paper held within a 
few inches of the eyes, and the sky could not be distinguished from 
the earth. Those who were away from home ihough well acqviainted 
with the roads could only with extreme difficulty and great danger 
reach their own houses, and several persons lost their way in familiar 
places, some totally bewildered shouting for aid but a few rods from 
their own door. Horses could not be persuaded to leave their stables, 
and many of those upon the roads being unable to see where to step, 
refused to continue on their way, their riders being compelled to dis- 
mount and put up. Tlie rising of the moon did not lessen the dark- 
ness, which continued as complete as before. About eleven o'clock 
a slight breeze sprang up from the north- northwest, and a faint glim- 
mer of light pierced the sable pall. By midnight it had become con- 
siderably lighter, 

With the night the gloom and fear passed away, and the people 
gratefiilly welcomed the sunlight of another morning, though the sky 
was obscured by clouds and unusually dark, the temperature low and 
a northeast wind blowing. 

The darkness extended over the middle and southern portions of 
New England, but it varied in density in different localities, being 
grossest in Essex county, Mass. It was noticed as far west as Al- 
bany, N. v., north as far as Portsmouth, and out on the ocean for a 
score of miles. 

The great question that has consta,ntly arisen since that famous 
day has been. What was the cause of the extraordinary darkness? 
Some still hold the opinion that it was preteraatural, but the great 
majority conclude that it was the effect of the conjunction of several 
natural causes. Without entering upon a scientific discussion of its 



114 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

solution, the general reader will be satisfied with a popular statement 1 
The smoke that had come over the country and remained in this ' 
region for several weeks ascended under a dense stratum of cloud, , 
and another thick stratum of vapor had been driven by a lower c 
rent blowing in an opposite direction under the stratum of smoke, 1 
neath which smoke had arisen in such quantities that another stramm ' 
was formed, the whole being held there by the heavy fog that came 
in from the sea. All these strata made a curtain that was nearly 
impervious to the light of the sun, and counter currents held the , 
clouds in place during the hours that the darkness continued. 
What seems to confirm this view is the fact, that where the darkness 
was grossest more ashes of burnt leaves, and soot and cinders were 
precipitated than in other sections. 





The Hurricane of June 23, lySi. 

IN southern Vermont and vicinity, on Sunday, June 23, 1782, oc- 
curred a terrific wind, accompanied in some places by a timnder 
shower and by hail. It first appeared in the northwestern part 
of Massactni setts, in the town of Dalton, which was then known as 
Ashue lot- Equivalent, at about noon. As far as reports show the hur- 
ricane was unaccompanied by hail or rain. It pervaded the place, 
and tore up many trees by the roois, twisting off some that were a 
foot in diameter six or seven feet from the ground. A new house, 
measuring forty-seven by eighteen feet, two stories in height, the out- 
side of which had just been finished, and a tan-house forty-two feet 
in length and twenty-two feet wide, both of the buildings being the 
property of Major Jeremiah Cady, were blown from their foundations, 
and both dashed to pieces, the tan-house being carried about twenty 

■ feet. 

H The tornado swept on to Manchester, in Vermont, where it arrived 
WtK. about three o'clock in the afternoon. There it did great damage 
to grain and buildiugs. As it left Manchester it divided into three 
parts, — one taking a northwesterly direction to Pawlet, another pro- 
ceeding northeasterly, and the third taking an easterly course. The 
northeast branch of the hurricane was accompanied by a terrible thun- 
der shower during which the flashes of lightning were incessant, the 
whole heavens seeming to be one blaze of fire. The wind and the 
hail that accompanied the shower, almost entirely destroyed the grain. 
It passed onward to Royalton, where the rain fell in such quantity 
that the water was knee deep in the houses, and many buildings were 
undermined and ruined. One house was thrown down and carried a 
considerable distance by the flood. Hail of extreme size L'U here 
plentifully, and it was affirmed by credible people that some of the 

■ Atones were six inches in length, and by estimation weighed a pound. 

("5) 




Ilfi HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW 

The shower passed over the Connecticut riv 
count of further damage in that direction. 

The easterly branch of the tornado was about one-half of a mile in 
width, and passed through Weathersfield, then crossed the Connec- 
ticut river into New Hampshire, where it proceeded through Claremont 
and Croydon, Its path was a scene of devastation. The wind tore 
up and twisted off many trees, and all the houses, barns and other 
buildings within its range were razed to their foundations or racked 
and torn in a terrific manner. At Claremont, a house belonging to a 
Mr. Spencer was blown down, the sills even being torn up and tvristed 
like withes. Mr. Spencer caught his ten-year old daughter up in his 
arms and attempted to escape with her, together with his wife, but it 
was too late, the house fell, and they were all buried in the ruins, the 
child being killed in her father's arms. Mr. and Mrs. Spencer were 
dug out sooo after the stonn was over, and he was found lo have es- 
caped with slight contusions, but she was almost fatally injured. 

Whether the same shower continued as far as Newburyport, Mass., 
or not, is uncertain ; but on that afternoon Capt. Edward Burbeck was 
struck by hghtnmg and instantly killed while standing near a clock in 
his chamber in that town. 




The Great Freshet cf October, 1785. 

TT CONSIDERABLE amount of rain fell in the month of Septera- 
y\ ber, 1 785, and from time to time during October it continued 
/ to fall in usual quantities until Tliursday, the twentieth. The 
rain descended through that day, and in the evening the wind shifted 
from west- north west to the opposite direction, blowing hard through 
the Bight. The wind continued to blow from the east- south east for 
two days, and during this time the Tain steadily fell in extraordinary 
quantities. The storm cleared up at about ten o'clock on Saturday 
night, nine inches of water having fallen during the three days. It 
fell principally in southeastern New Hampsliire and the adjoining 
country, and was the heaviest fall of rain on record that has occurred in 
New England in so short a space of time. It caused a great freshet 
in the region that it covered and proved exceedingly distressful to the 
inhabitants. 

The Merrimac river rose higher at Haverhill, Mass., than it had for 
very many years, and the Cocheco river, in New Hampshire, contin- 
ued to rise until Sunday, when it attained its highest mark, being fif- 
teen feet above its usual height. No other freshet in that river has 
been known to equal this. There were carried away seven mills and 
several hundred thousand feet of lumber, besides plank and timber from 
the landing. A valuable store belonging to M.ijor Tibbets, with more 
than one thousand bushels of salt contained therein, was wholly de- 
stroyed ; and another, the property of a Mr. Home, was removed from 
its foundations and almost ruined. Two bridges over the river at 
Dover were also washed away. On the Salmon Falls branch of the 
, Piscataqua river, the water continued to rise until the afternoon of 
■;Sunday, at which time the banks were overflowed and the houses of 
I ^uire Lord and a Mr. Marshall were filled with water to the depth 
f four or five feet. Every bridge on the river was carried away, and 
(■17) 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 



^ 



I 



a saw-mill in Great Falls came floating down the stream. The freshet 
raised the river the whole distance to tlie sea, carrying off at Ports- 
mouth several vessels that were upon the stocks, and in a greater or 
less state of completion, besides stores, mills, bridges, and great quan- 
tities of lumber. 

Eastward of Portsmouth, many of the bridges were floated off, and 
on that account the post from Portland (which was then a part of 
Falmouth}, was preveialed from making his trip for several days, all 
travel through that region being greatly impeded until temporary 
bridges could be thrown across the numerous streams. All the bridges 
on the Presurapscut river were also carried away. 

At Berwick, Me., the freshet was most disastrous, almost every 
mill and bridge being wholly destroyed, and the inhabitants left with- 
out bridges, mills or logs. At tliis town, the river began to rise rap- 
idly on Saturday, and in the evening the water rushed down the stream 
like a torrent, deep and wide. By ten o'clock Quamphegon landing 
was oversowed, and the timber was adrift, the water being two or three 
feet deep in the houses. The fulling- and grist-mills belonging to 
Major-general Sullivan were carried off from Parker's falls, and saw- 
and grist-mills and mill logs continually came over the falls at Ber- 
wick. These were the Quamphegon grist-mill, and also those of An- 
drew Horn, a Mr. Downes, Parson Ha^sey, and Captain Allen, Hog- 
gen's new saw- and grist-mill, VVentworth's new saw-mill, and 'Squire 
Rolling's double saw-mill. Only two grist-mills were left on that 
river, and most of the mills for sawing lumber were either carried 
away or rendered useless. The lowest estimate of the loss in the 
town of Berwick alone was twenty thousand dollars. With their logs 
gone, and their mills destroyed, the people found it very slow work 
to build anew the bridges that they must have across the streams. 

Thisfreshet brought calamity upon the townof Kennebunkin Maine, 
The river Mousam overflowed, sweeping away the saw-mill, grist-milt, 
lower iron-works, the bridge, and nearly every other structure on the 

;am. The iron-works were rebuilt, and the business prosecuted at 
the place for many years. The Kennebunk river was also greatly swol- 

, andat length became so flooded that it swept away the saw- mill there. 
Tlie growth of the village was greatly checked by the damage caused 
by this freshet. Property was also destroyed at Wells. The losses 
of the people of that neighborhood were so great it was very difficult 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. Ilg 

fbrthem to pay the taxes next assessed upon them by the state, and ap- 
plication was made to the legislature for an abatement. Their peti- 
tion was granted, ninety pounds being deducted from the tax of 
Wells, Kennebunk, and four adjoining towns. 

The Saco river probably rose higher than the other streams in that 
region, as it receives the waters of the minor rivers and brooks of a 
wide extent of country on either side of it along its whole length from 
the Notch in the White mountains to the sea, a distance of a hundred 
and sixty miles. Through the mountain region the river flows rapidly 
over a rough and rocky bed, and with a very variable course, now run- 
ning east, now south and at places in other directions of the compass. 
These changes in its course have caused the formation of broad areas 
of level river land at several points along the course of the river. One 
of the largest and certainly the best known of these tracts of intervale 
is that at North Conway, N. H., which is from fifty to two hundred 
and twenty rods in width, and fertile, producing abundant crops of 
com and rye. The river here is from eight to twelve rods wide, and 
only from two to seven feet deep. This beautiful spot, nestled under 
the mountains, was early settled, and at the time of this freshet was 
populated by thriving farmers, who were enjoying the brilliant colors 
of the autumn foliage on the mountain sides, and the sweet perfume 
of wild flowers that came down on the gentle breezes of Indian sum- 
mer, when the rain storm began on the twentieth of October, 1785^ 
causing the river to rise until it overflowed the intervale, the chan- 
nel of the stream being indistinguishable in the broad lake which was 
formed. Farms were entirely submergeil, barns floated away, and 
grain, hay and other crops destroyed. The freshet produced greater 
damage at this place than in any other portion of New England. The 
river had never been known to rise so high before, and it was estimated 
that about three hundr and twenty-seven acres of mowing and 
ploughed land were totally spoiled. Two barns were carried away 
with all the grain and hay in them, and seven dwelling houses and four 
bams were so mucli damaged that they had to be rebuilt. The greater 
portion of the hay that had been cut that season was lost, and a large 
quantity of flax which was spread in the intervale, and the greater part 
of the com in the fields were carried away. A large number of do- 
c animals were drowned, — ten oxen, twelve cows, eighty sheep, 

o horses, twenty swine, and probably others. One and a half tons 



11^ mestic anima 
H^Biro horses, f 



130 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

of potash were also destroyed. Almost every rod of fence in the town 
was carried away, and every bridge, great and small, two of which had 
cost the town about one hundred pounds, was floated off. The loss 
of cattle and the larger part of the season's produce, upon which the 
inhabitants depended solely for support, was very distressing, and the 
people became considerably dislieartened. Newspapers of that time 
suggested that outside assistance should be given to the sufferers, 
and their distresses became so great that they at length petitioned the 
Assembly for relief. 

One of the effects of this storm was the washing into the sea of a 
part of the venerated Cole's hill burying -ground at Plymouth, Mass., 
and with it the bones of many of the pilgrim fathers. 

"An incident of the storm occurred on Friday night, when the wind 
blew a gale from the southeast, driving before it upon the sands of 
Plum Island a Dutch ship from Amsterdam, bound to New York, 
The storm had been so severe that the capiain had lost his calcula- 
tions and supposed that he was four hundred miles from land when, 
the vessel struck. The lives of the men who composed the crew were; 
all saved, but the ship and cargo were lost. 




I 

I 



Tlu Tornado of 1786. 



TTBOUT five o'clock in the afternoon of Wednesday, August 23, 
M 1 786, the people of Sturbridge and Southbridge, Mass., and 
J Woodstock, Pomfret and Killingly, Conn., saw rising in the 
Northwestern sky a dark cloud, which whirled around and around, and 
"With unusual velocity moved up to the zenith. It spread over all the 
r sty that was visible to the people of that neighborhood in a few nio- 
[ ments and darkness, surpassing that of the dark day of 1 7S0, settled 
over them. The people had not long to ponder on what was about to 
take place, as in a moment or two a whirlwind or hurricane struck 
across the towns named, and the wind had wrought its work and sped 
on and up. The sky quickly grew light again, and the clouds passed 
away to the eastward. So suddenly and so expeditiously was the 
entire destruction wrought, and the sky so quickly cleared again, it 
would have seemed like a dream but for the killed and wo\mded peo- 
ple and cattle, the levelled houses and barns and other evidences of 
the awful hurricane lying all about. Pen cannot describe tiie dread- 
ful havoc and injury that can be accomplished in a moment's time by 
one of these unwelcome visitors, and this instance of the wind's power 
is accounted one of the most destructive in our history. 

The tornado proceeded in a soutli easterly direction from Sturbridge, 
passing over Southbridge, then cro.ssing the Connecticut line, contin- 
ned its course over the north parisli of Woodstock and over Pomfret 
to Chestnut hill in Killingly, its track being about a quarter of a mile 
wide. At Sturbridge, considerable damage was done to trees, crops 
and buildings. A number of fences and even heavy stone walls were 
tossed about in a state of confusion, and an orchard was wholly de- 
stroyed. A house and a barn were also torn into fragments, one of the 
plates of the latter being cnrried to a great height, whence it fell end- 
wise, striking the earth fifteen rods from the place where it was taken up 

(121) 



lao HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND, 

of potash were also destroyed. Almost every rod of fence in tht 
was carried away, and every bridge, great and small, two of which had 
cost the town about one hundred pounds, was floated off. The loss 
of cattie and the larger part of the season's produce, upon which the 
inhabitants depended solely for support, was very distressing, and the 
people became considerably disheartened. Newspapers of that time 
suggested that outside assistance should be given to the suflerers, 
and their distresses became so great that they at length petitioned the 
Assembly for relief. 

One of the effects of this storm was the washing into the sea of a 
part of the venerated Cole's hill burying- ground at Plymouth, Mass., 
anrf with it (he bones of many of the pilgrim fathers. 

An incident of the storm occurred on Friday night, when the wind 
blew a gale from the southeast, driving before it upon the sands of 
Plum Island a Dutch ship from Amsterdam, bound to New York. 
The storm had been so severe that the captain had lost his calcula- 
tions and supposed that he was four hundred miles from land when.' 
the vessel struck. The lives of the men who composed the crew wcie 
alt saved, but tlie ship and cargo were lost. 




CHAPTER XXXV. 

Tlie Tornado of iyS6. 

TTBOUT five o'clock in the afternoon of Wednesday, August 23, 
Fl 1786, the people of Sturbridge and Souihbridge, Mass., and 
V Woodstock, Pomfret and Killingly, Conn., saw rising in the 
^orlhweslernskya dark cloud, which whirled around and around, and 
Arilh unusual velocity moved up to the zenith. It spread over all the 
sky that was visible to tiie people of that neighborhood in a few mo- 
ments and darkness, surpassing that of the dark day of 1 780, settled 
over them. Tlie people had not long to ponder on what was about to 
I take place, as in a moment or two a whirlwind or hurricane struck 
I across the towns named, and the wind iiad wrought iis work and sped 
on and up. The sky quickly grew light again, and the clouds passed 
anay to the eastward. So suddenly and so expeditiously was the 
entire destruction wrought, and the sky so quickly cleared again, it 
would have seemed like a dream but for the killed and wounded peo- 
ple and cattle, the levelled houses and barns and other evidences of 
the awful hurricane lying all about. Pen cannot describe the dread- 
fiil havoc and injury that can be accomplished in a moment's lime by 
one of these unwelcome visitors, and this instance of the wind's power 
is accounted one of the most destructive in our history. 

Tlie tornado proceeded in a souUi easterly direction from Sturbridge, 
passing over Southbridgc, then crossing the Connecticut line, contin- 
ued its course over the north parish of ^Voodstock and over Pomfret 
to Chestnut hill in Killingly, its track being about a quarter of a mile 
■wide. At Sturbridge, considerable damage was done to trees, crops 
and buildings. A number of fences and even heavy stone walls were 
tossed about in a stale of confusion, and an orchard was wholly de- 
stroyed. A house and a barn were also torn iuto fragmei 
plates of the latter being carried to a great height, wheni 
wise, striking the earth fiileen rods from the place where it 




e of the 
e it fell enc 
vas taken u 



(!«) 



of potash were also destroyed. Almost every rod of fence in the town 
was carried away, and every bridge, great and small, two of which had 
cost the town about one hundred pounds, was floated off. The loss 
of cattle and the larger part of the season's produce, upon which the 
inhabitants depended solely for support, was very distressing, and the 
people became considerably disheartened. Newspapers of that time 
suggested that outside assistance should be given to the sufferers, 
and their distresses became so great that they at length petitioned the 
Assembly for relief. 

One of the effects of this storm was the washing into the sea of a 
part of the venerated Cole's hill burying-ground at Plymouth, Mass., 
and with it the bones of many of the pilgrim fathers. 

An incident of the storm occurred on Friday night, when the wind 
blew a gale from the southeast, driving before it upon the sands of 
Plum Island a Dutch ship from Amsterdam, bound to New York, 
The storm had been so severe that the captain had lost his calcula- 
tions and supposed that he was four hundred miles from land when 
the vessel struck. The lives of the men who composed the crew were 
all saved, but the ship and cargo were lost. 




» 



77/1? Tornado of iy86. 



*rTBOUT five o'clock in the afternoon of Wednesday, August 23, 
rl 1786, the people of SturbriJge and Southbridge, Mass., and 
J Woodstock, Pomfret and Killingly, Conn., saw rising in the 
Northwestern sky a dark cloud, which whirled around and around, and 
■^di unusual velocity moved up to the zenith. It spread over all the 
sky that was visible to the people of that neighborhood in a few mo- 
ments and darkness, surpassing that of the dark tlay of 1 780, settled 
over them, Tlie people had not long to ponder on what was about to 
take place, as in a moment or two a whirlwind or hurricane struck 
across the towns named, and the wind Iiad wrought its work and sped 
on and up. The sky quickly grew light again, and the clouds passed 
away to the eastward. So suddenly and so expeditiously was the 
entire destruction wrought, and the sky so quickly cleared again, it 
would have seemed like a dream but for the killed and wounded peo- 
ple and cattle, the levelled houses and barns and other evidences of 
the awful hurricane lying all about. Pen cannot describe the dread- 
ful havoc and injury that can be accomplished in a moment's time by 
one of these unwelcome visitors, and this instance of the wind's power 
is accounted one of the most destructive in our history. 

The tornado proceeded in a sou tli easterly direction from Sturbridge, 
passing over Soutlibridge, then crossing the Connecticut line, contin- 
ued its course over the north parish of Woodstock and over Pomfret 
to Chestnut hill in Kilhngly, its track being about a quarter of a mile 
wide. At Sturbridge, considerable damage was done to trees, crops 
and buildings, A number of fences and even heavy stone walls were 
tossed about in a state of confusion, and an orchard was wholly de- 
stroyed. A house and a barn were also torn into fragments, one of the 
plates of the latter being carried to a great height, whence it fell end- 
wise, striking the earth fifteen rods from the place where it was taken up 

(121) 



of potash were also destroyed. Almost every rod of fence in the town 
was carried away, and every bridge, great and small, two of whicli had 
cost the town about one hundred pounds, was floated off. The loss 
of cattle and the larger part of the season's produce, upon which the 
inhabitants depended solely for support, was very distressing, and the 
people became considerably disheartened. Newspapers of that time 
suggested that outside assistance should be given to the sufferers, 
and their distresses became so great that they at length petitioned the 
Assembly for relief. 

One of the eflects of this storm was the washing into the sea of a ' 
part of the venerated Cole's hill burying-ground at Plymouth, Mass., 
and with it the bones of many of the pilgrim fathers. 

'An incident of the atorm occurred on Friday night, when the wind 
blew a gale from the southeast, driving before it upon tlie sands of ' 
Plum Island a Dutch ship from Amsterdam, bound to New York. 
The stonn had been so severe that the captain had lost his calcula- 
tions and supposed that he was four hundred miles from land when 
the vessel struck. The lives of the men who composed the crew were 
all saved, but the ship and cargo were lost. 



CHAPTER XXXV. 
The Tornado of 1786. 

TTBOUT five o'clock in the afternoon of Wednesday, August 23, 
y\ 1 786, the people of Sturbridge and Southbridge, Mass., and 
W Woodstock, Pomfret and Killingly, Conn., saw rising in the 
^^lorthwestern sky a dark cloud, which whirled around and around, and 
"^th unusual velocity moved up to the zenith. It spread over all tlie 
^ky that was visible to the people of that neighborhood in a few mo- 
^i^nents and darkness, surpassing that of the dark day of 1780, settled 
"^Dver them. The people had not long to ponder on what was about to 
"fcke place, as in a moment or two a whirlwind or hurricane struck 
icross the towns named, and the wind had wrought its work and sped 
m and up. The sky quickly grew light again, and the clouds passed 
Lway to the eastward. So suddenly and so expeditiously was the 
'Entire destruction wrought, and the sky so quickly cleared again, it 
""^vould have seemed like a dream but for the killed and wounded peo- 
I^le and cattle, the levelled houses and barns and other evidences of 
'^he awful hurricane lying all about. Pen cannot describe the dread- 
ful havoc and injury that can be accomplished in a moment's time by 
^3ne of these unwelcome visitors, and this instance of the wind's power 
:is accounted one of the most destructive in our history. 

The tornado proceeded in a soutiieasterly direction from Sturbridge, 
"passing over Southbridge, then crossing the Connecticut line, contin- 
xied its course over the north parish of Woodstock and over Pomfret 
\o Chestnut hill in Killingly, its track being about a quarter of a mile 
'wide. At Sturbridge, considerable damage was done to trees, crops 
and buildings. A number of fences and even heavy stone walls were 
tossed about in a state of confusion, and an orchard was wholly de- 
stroyed. A house and a barn were also torn into fragments, one of the 
plates of the latter being carried to a great height, whence it fell end- 
wise, striking the earth fifteen rods from the place where it was taken up 

(121) 



130 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

of potash were also destroyed. Almost every rod of fence in the'lbwn 
was carried away, and every bridge, great and small, two of which had 
cost the town about one hundred pounds, was floated off. The loss 
of cattle and the larger part of the season's produce, upon which the 
inhabitants depended solely for support, was very distressing, and the 
people became considerably disheartened. Newspapers of that time 
suggested that outside assistance should be given to the sufTerere, 
and their distresses became so great that they at length petitioned the 
Assembly for relief. 

One of the effects of this storm was the washing into the sea of a 
part of the venerated Cole's hill burying -ground at Plymouth, Mass., 
and with it the bones of many of the pilgrim fathers. 

'An incident of the storm occurred on Friday night, when the wind 
blew a gale from tlie southeast, driving before it upon the sands of 
Plum Island a Dutch ship from Amsterdam, bound to New York. 
The storm had been so severe that the captain had lost bis caJcuIa- 
. supposed that he was four hundred miles from land when 
tlie vessel struck. The lives of the men who composed the crew were 
all saved, but the ship and cargo were lost. 



CHAPTER XXXV. 
The Tornado of 1786. 

TTBOUT five o'clock in the afternoon of Wednesday, August 23, 

rl 1 786, the people of Sturbridge and Southbridge, Mass., and 

W Woodstock, Pomfret and Killingly, Conn., saw rising in the 

^^lorthwestern sky a dark cloud, which whirled around and around, and 

"^th unusual velocity moved up to the zenith. It spread over all the 

^ky that was visible to the people of that neighborhood in a few mo- 

^*nents and darkness, surpassing that of the dark day of 1780, settled 

'movtx them. The people had not long to ponder on what was about to 

'toke place, as in a moment or two a whirlwind or hurricane struck 

icross the towns named, and the wind had wrought its work and sped 

m and up. The sky quickly grew light again, and the clouds passed 

Lway to the eastward. So suddenly and so expeditiously was the 

'Entire destruction wrought, and the sky so quickly cleared again, it 

""^jvould have seemed like a dream but for the killed and wounded peo- 

)le and cattle, the levelled houses and barns and other evidences of 

:he awful hurricane lying all about. Pen cannot describe the dread- 

^^ul havoc and injury that can be accomplished in a moment's time by 

^Dne of these unwelcome visitors, and this instance of the wind's power 

^s accounted one of the most destructive in our history. 

The tornado proceeded in a soutjieasterly direction from Sturbridge, 
'J)assing over Southbridge, then crossing the Connecticut line, contin- 
xied its course over the north parish of Woodstock and over Pomfret 
to Chestnut hill in Killingly, its track being about a quarter of a mile 
'wide. At Sturbridge, considerable damage was done to trees, crops 
and buildings. A number of fences and even heavy stone walls were 
tossed about in a state of confusion, and an orchard was wholly de- 
stroyed. A house and a bam were also torn into fragments, one of the 
plates of the latter being carried to a great height, whence it fell end- 
wise, striking the earth fifteen rods from the place where it was taken up 

(121) 



120 HICTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

of potash were also destroyed. Almost every rod of fence in the town 
was carried away, and every bridge, great and small, two of which had 
cost the town about one hundred pounds, was floated off. The loss 
of catlle and the larger part of the season's produce, upon which the 
inhabitants depended solely for support, was very distressing, and the 
people became considerably disheartened. Newspapers of that time 
suggested that outside assistance should be given to the sufferers, ■ 
and their distresses became so great that they at length petitioned the 
Assembly for relief. ' 

One of the effects of this storm was the washing into the sea of a 
part of the venerated Cole's hill burying -ground at Plymouth, Mass., 
and with it the bones of many of the pilgrim fathers. 

'An incident of the storm occurred on Friday night, when the wind 
blew a gale from the southeast, driving before it upon the sands of 
Plum Island a Dutch ship from Amsterdam, bound to New York. 
The storm had been so severe that the captain had lost his calcula- 

. supposed that he was four hundred miles from land when | 
the vessel struck. The lives of the men who composed the crew were 
all saved, but the ship and cargo were lost. 




CHAPTER XXXV. 
The Tornado of ij86. 



TTBOUT five o'clock in the afternoon of Wednesday, August 23, 
y\ 1 786, the people of Sturbridge and Southbridge, Mass., and 
W Woodstock, Pomfret and Killmgly, Coon., saw rising in tlie 
^*iorthwestern sky a dark cloud, which whirled around and around, and 
~^th unusual velocity moved up to the zenith. It spread over all the 
^ky that was visible to the people of that neighborhood in a few nio- 
^■nents and darkness, surpassing that of the dark day of 1780, settled 
■^aver them. Tiie people had not long to ponder on what was about to 
^■ake place, as in a moment or two a whirlwind or hurricane struck 
-across the towns named, and the wind had wrought its work and sped 
^n and up. The sky quickly grew light again, and the clouds passed 
■^way to the eastward. So suddenly and so expeditiously was the 
■entire destruction wrought, and the sky so quickly cleared again, it 
""would have seemed like a dream but for the killed and wounded peo- 
;;^le and cattle, the levelled houses and barns and other evidences of 
■*he awful hurricane lying all about. Pen cannot describe tlie dread- 
^*il havoc and injury that can be accomplished in a moment's time by 
^Dne of these unwelcome visitors, and this instance of the wind's power 
*s accounted one of the most destructive in our history. 

The tornado proceeded in a soulJieasterly direction from Sturbridge, 
~X>assing over Southbridge, then crossing the Connecticut line, contin- 
xjed its course over the north parish of Woodstock and over Pomfret 
to Chestnut hill in Killingly, its track being about a quarter of a mile 
vide. At Sturbridge, considerable damage was done to trees, crops 
I and buildings, A number of fences and even heavy stone walls were 
tossed about in a state of confusion, and an orchard was wholly de- 
stroyed. A house and a barn were also torn into fragments, one of the 
plates of the latter being carried to a great height, whence it fell end- 
wise, striking the earth fifteen rods from the place where it was taken up 

~ (121) 



130 HISTORIC STORMS OF N 

of potash were also destroyed. Almost every rod of fence in the town 
was carried away, ajid every bridge, great and small, two of which had 
cost the town about one hundred pounds, was floated off. The loss 
of cattle and the larger part of the season's produce, upon which the 
inhabitants depended solely for support, was very distressing, and the 
people became considerably disheartened. Newspapers of that time 
suggested that outside assistance should be given to the sufferers, 
and their distresses became so great that they at length petitioned the 
Assembly for relief. 

One of the effects of this storm was the washing into the sea of a 
part of the venerated Cole's hill burying- ground at Plymouth, Mass., 
and with it the bones of many of the pilgrim fathers. 

'An incident of the storm occurred on Friday night, when the wind 
blew a gale from the southeast, driving before it upon the sands of 
Plum Island a Dutch ship from Amsterdam, bound to New York. 
The storm had been so severe that the capiain had lost his calcula- 
tions and supposed that he was four hundred miles from land when 
the vessel struck. The lives of the men who composed the crew were 
all saved, but the ship and cargo were lost. 



CHAPTER XXXV. 
The Tornado of 1786. 

TTBOUT five o'clock in the afternoon of Wednesday, August 23, 

rl 1 786, the people of Sturbridge and Southbridge, Mass., and 

W Woodstock, Pomfret and Killingly, Conn., saw rising in the 

^^lorthwestern sky a dark cloud, which whirled around and around, and 

^^th unusual velocity moved up to the zenith. It spread over all the 

^ky that was visible to the people of that neighborhood in a few mo- 

:»nents and darkness, surpassing that of the dark day of 1780, settled 

-^over them. The people had not long to ponder on what was about to 

'^ake place, as in a moment or two a whirlwind or hurricane struck 

icross the towns named, and the wind had wrought its work and sped 

m and up. The sky quickly grew light again, and the clouds passed 

Lway to the eastward. So suddenly and so expeditiously was the 

"Entire destruction wrought, and the sky so quickly cleared again, it 

""^jvould have seemed like a dream but for the killed and wounded peo- 

)le and cattle, the levelled houses and barns and other evidences of 

:he awful hurricane lying all about. Pen cannot describe the dread- 

^^ul havoc and injury that can be accomplished in a moment's time by 

^Dne of these unwelcome visitors, and this instance of the wind's power 

3s accounted one of the most destructive in our history. 

The tornado proceeded in a southeasterly direction from Sturbridge, 
'J)assing over Southbridge, then crossing the Connecticut line, contin- 
xied its course over the north parish of Woodstock and over Pomfret 
to Chestnut hill in Killingly, its track being about a quarter of a mile 
'wide. At Sturbridge, considerable damage was done to trees, crops 
and buildings. A number of fences and even heavy stone walls were 
tossed about in a state of confusion, and an orchard was wholly de- 
stroyed. A house and a barn were also torn into fragments, one of the 
plates of the latter being carried to a great height, whence it fell end- 
wise, striking the earth fifteen rods from the place where it was taken up 

(121) 



I30 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

of potash were also destroyed. Almost every rod of fence in the town 
was carried away, and every bridge, great and small, two of which had 
cost the town about one hundred pounds, was floated off. The loss 
of cattle and the larger part of the season's produce, upon which the 
inhabitants depended solely for support, was very distressing, and the 
people became considerably disheartened. Newspapers of that time 
suggested that outside assistance should be given to the sufferers, 
and their distresses became so great that they at length petitioned the 
Assembly for relief. 

One of the effects of this storm was the washing into the sea of a 
part of the venerated Cole's hill burying- ground at Plymouth, Mass., 
and with it the bones of many of the pilgrim fathers, 

'An incident of the storm occurred on Friday night, when the wind 
blew a gale from the southeast, driving before it upon the sands of 
Plum Island a Dutch ship from Amsterdam, bound to New York. 
The storm had been so severe that the captain had lost his calcula- 
tions and supposed that he was four hundred miles from land when 
the vessel struck. The lives of the men who composed the crew were 
all saved, but the ship and cargo were lost. 



CHAPTER XXXV. 

The Tornado of 1786. 

TTBOUr five o'clock in the afternoon of \\'ednesday, August 23, 
r\ 1786, the people of Slurbritlge and Southbridge, Mass., and 
J Woodstock, Pomfret and Killingly, Conn,, saw rising in the 
northwestern sky a dark cloud, which wJiirJed around and around, and 
with unusual velocity moved up to the zenith. It spread overall the 
sky tlial was visible to the people of that neighborhood in a few mo- 
ments and darkness, surpassing that of the dark day of 1780, settled 
T them. Tlie people had not long to ponder on what was about to 
take place, as in a moment or two a whirlwind or hurricane struck 
across tfie towns named, and the wind had wrought its work and sped 
on and up. The sky quickly grew light again, and the clouds passed 
away to the eastward. So suddenly and so expeditiously was the 
; destruction wrougiit, and the sky so quickly cleared again, it 
would have seemed like a dream but for the killed and woimded peo- 
ple and cattle, the levelled houses and barns and other evidences of 
the awful hurricane lying all about. Pen cannot describe tlie dread- 
ful havoc and injury that can be accomplished in a moment's time by 
one of these unwelcome visitors, and this instance of the wind's power 
is accounted one of the most destructive in our history. 

The tornado proceeded in a soutlieasterly direction from Sturbridge, 
r Soutlibridge, then crossing the Connecticut line, contin- 
ued its course over the north parish of Woodstock and over Pomfret 
to Chestnut hill in Killingly, its track being about a quarter of a mile 
wide. At Sturbridge, considerable damage was done to trees, crops 
and buildings, A number of fences and even heavy stone walls were 
1 about in a stale of confusion, and an orchard was wholly de- 
stroyed. A house and a bam were also torn into fragments, one of the 
plates of the latter being carried to a great height, whence it fell e 
wise, striking the earth fifteen rods irom the place where it was taken up 



I 



122 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

and penetrating the ground so deeply that it was almost immovable. 
At Woodstock, some groves, a large number of timber trees, and the 
fruit trees on thousands of acres of orchard were levelled, many fields 
of com and other grain being also devastated in the same manner. 
Several hundred stacks of hay were lifted up and blown to pieces, 
being scattered over a wide extent of country. More than a hundred 
buildings were either unroofed, partly torn to pieces or wholly de- 
stroyed, a number of barns being blown down, and many having their 
roofs taken off. Some of the farmers in the town lost several cattle, 
they being killed by tilling timbers. A child was taken up by the 
• wind, carried a long distance and dropped upon the eartli, being much 
bruised. In Woodstock, only one human life was lost, and that fatal- 
ity occurred in a very singular manner. Two large elm trees were 
torn out of the ground, carried by the wind above the roof of a house, 
upon which they were dropped, thereby crushing t!ie entire dwelling 
and killing a woman who was in it. Among the incidents connected 
with this hurricane at Woodstock was the taking up of a wagon by 
the wind and placing it upon an apple-tree. At Pomfret, some dam- 
age was done, but at Killingly the wind was much more disastrous. 
A new house there, belonging to Othniel Brown, was blown entirely 
to pieces, and the boards and timbers, together with the household 
fiimiture and other articles were carried to a considerable distance. 
There wers six persons in the house at the time, and they all escaped 
injury except Mrs. Brown, who was killed by being struck with a stick 
of timber. 

In other places, a shower with thunder and lightning accompanied 
the tornado, doing considerable damage. At Providence, R. I., it was 
as dark as it was in Connecticut, vivid lightning lit up the heavens 
from time to time, and some rain fell, but the air was still, though in 
this town and at Rehoboth, in Massachusetts, a large quantity of 
leaves fell apparently from a great height indicating that a whirlwind 
had visited some place in the vicinity with its mighty power. Sev- 
eral places in Connecticut also suffered from the effects of the shower. 
At Canaan, a house was set on fire by the lightning and consumed. 
At East Haddara, a yoke of oxen had a very singular and narrow es- 
cape. They were standing yoked together, when the lightning struck 
the yoke staple, splitting the wood in such a manner that it released 
the animals from each other without injuring either. At East Hartford, 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 1 23 

four cows were killed under a tree ; and at Wethersfield a woman was 
struck by the lightning and fatally injured. At Windham, the dark- 
ness was almost as gross as it was at Woodstock, and during the 
shower here a stack of hay was set on fire by the lightning and wholly 
consumed. 

At New London, Conn., the thunder shower was very violent, con- 
tinuing about three hours, and being attended with almost incessant 
and intensely vivid lightning. At about eight o'clock, the house of 
Jonathan Brooks was struck, the lightning entering a chimney, and de- 
scending it in various directions. Mr. Brooks' only daughter, a very 
promising girl of fifteen, who was in a chamber near the chimney, was 
instantly killed. She was struck on her ri^jht temple, and the light- 
ning ran down her right side badly burning her body. Mr. Brooks 
was in the room beneath that in which she was killed and was knocked 
down. Three others of the family who were near him also escaped 
injury. 




I 



CHAPTER XXXVr. 
The Snow Storms of December^ 1^86. 

THE winter of 1786-87 set in very early. At Warren, in Maine, 
on tlie fourteenth of November the St, George's river was frozen 
so hard and thick that tlie ice bore horses and sleighs as far 
down as Watson's Point, and on the following day to the mouth of 
the stream. It did not break up until the latter part of the following 
March. The sloop Warren, lying at the wharf in Thomaston and 
loading with a cargo for the West Indies, was frozen in and cotnpelled 
to remain there all through the winter. By the twentieth of Novem- 
ber, the harbor of Salem, Mass., was frozen over as far out as Naugus 
Head ; and the Connecticut river was congealed so quickly that, at 
Middletown in that state, within twenty-four hours after boats passed 
over it the ice had become strong enough to bear heavy weights and 
people were driving on it with their horses and sleighs. Frozen into 
the river were between thirty and forty vessels that had been prepared 
for their voyages, the masters expecting to sail before the river was 
closed by ice. The monthof December was unusually severe, and snow 
storms came frequently and terrifically, great quantities of snow cov- 
ering the earth to a depth that impeded travel in all portions of the 
country. The remainder of the winter was also severe, and in the 
vicinity of Rockland, Me., snow remained on the ground as late as 
April 10, so deep and hard-ctnsled that teams passed over the fences 
in every direction without obstruction. 

The first storm in the month of December began about noon on 
Monday, the fourth. The weather was very cold, and during the fore- 
noon a piercing northeast wind blew. About noon snow-flakes began 
to fall, and they increased in number so fast that soon a blinding snow 
storm was raging in all its fury. The strong wind brought in the tide, 
until it became one of the highest that was ever experienced on our 
coast. On the salt marshes, stacks of hay were lifted from the stad- 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 1 25 

dies and floated away, most of them never being recovered, while much 
that was saved was so wet that it was worthless as fodder. On the 
marslies of Rowley, Mass., hundreds of tons of hay were' floated across 
the river and marshes to the lee shore of Ipswich, most of it being 
lost. The storm continued all Monday night, through the next day 
and until another evening, without intermission, so much soow falling 
that it lay six feet deep in Boston. The newspapers of that time said 
that it was as severe a snow storm as had been experienced for sev- 
eral years. 

The tide was so high on Tuesday that at Boston the water over- 
flowed the " pier" to the depth of several inches and entered the 
stores on the lower part of it, greatly damaging the sugar, salt and 
other articles that were in them. The wharves generally were over- 
flowed, and from them quantities of wood and lumber were floated 

Several vessels were expected to arrive in Boston at the time of the 
storm, and their owners and the families of the crews were very anx- 
ious concerning them. They all, however, afterward came safely into 
port, with the exception of two or three that were wrecked. One 
of these was the brig Lucretia, Captain Powell, master, owned by 
Messrs. Boiling and Sharj) of New Haven. She had come from St, 
Croix, had weathered the storm during Monday night and reached 
the entrance to Boston harbor when, about nine o'clock on Tuesday 
morning, in the violent wind and blinding storm she ran on Point 
Shirley. There were eleven persons on board When the vessel 
struck, Mr. Kilby the mate, two of the crew, a Mr. Sharp, who was a 
merchant, and a negro jumped into the foam, at the risk of losing 
their lives in the terrible surf, and succeeded in reaching the shore. 
They travelled through the deep snow and endeavored to find one 
of the houses on the point; but being exhausted by their terrible 
struggle with the waves they were not able to battle with the storm, 
and they perished in the snow. Captain Powell and the five men 
who remained on the brig continued there until the storm abated, 
when they made their way to the shore in safety. The vessel was so 
strained and racked thac it was bilged, but the cargo was saved. Mr. 
Sharp's body was brought to Boston, and his funeral was held at the 
American Coffee House, on State street, at four o'clock on the after- 

In of Tuesday of the following week, it being attended by a large 
iber of the merchants of Boston and other people. 



ia6 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

On Monday night, the sloop Tliomas, from Baltimore, which »m"" 
commanded by Jonathan Smith, was wrecked on Man.hfield beach, 
and the captain and mate were frozen to death before assistance 
could come to them. Tiie cargo was saved, but the vessel was cracked 
so much that it was bilged. 

A day or two before the storm a sloop, owned by Jacob Curtis, 
sailed from Arundel, on the coast of Maine, for Salem ; and on Tues- 
day, in the violent snow storm, was driven on Plum Island and 
wrecked. There were only three persons on board, and two of them, 
Mr. Curtis and Benjamin Jeffries, died from the effects of the cold. 
Mr. Curtis left a wife and eight children who deeply felt the loss of 
the husband and father of whom they were in so much need. Mr. 
Jeffries was about twenty-two yeara of age and unmarried. The sur- 
vivor of the crew was severely frozen, but after good treatment and 
months of suffering he recovered. On the next day, the bodies of the 
lost mariners were found under a stack of hay and brought to New- 
buryport, where a jury held an inquest. The remains were properly 
interred on the following Friday afternoon. 

Among the several incidents of this storm is one that is curious 
and interesting. Where the river which flows down through the 
marshes of Rowley, Mass., empties into Plum Island sound, is a tract 
of upland known as Hog Island, on which at the time of this storm 
was a hut belonging to Samuel Pulsifer and Samuel Elwell, both of 
Rowley. They had gone down the river on Monday morning with 
the intention of spending the night there, a practice which has ever 
since been common among the people of the towns bordering on the 
marshes. Fresh, succulent clams constitute the principal food of 
such excursionists and these men had been digging their supply on 
the flats of the sound off the island during tlie forenoon. After ob- 
taining the quantity they desired they returned to the house. The 
snow storm had already begun, and it increased so rapidly that they 
concluded to give up the idea of staying there in such a storm as ap- 
peared to be beginning and return to their homes. The tide wastoow 
low, and they started across the marshes and creeks, but soon lost 
their way in the bhnding storm. Finding no landmarks to direct 
them across the level marshes that stretched away for miles, they wan- 
dered about for some time, bewildered and tired. At length they 
d a stack of dry hay in which they dug a hole, and concluded to 
p therein until the storm should be over in the morning. They 




^ 



HISTORIC SrOR.MS OF NEW ENGLAND. 127 

passed the night as well as the circumstances and severe cold would 
permit. At length morning came, but the storm had not abated. It 
Still raged as fiercely as when darkness closed in upon the marshes 
the night before. To their astonishment, the men foimd the tide 
had risen so high that it wet the hay around the place in the stack 
where they had spent the night, and they were obliged to go to the 
top of the stack to keep above the water. They began to consider 
the new dangers of their situation, which had become truly alarming. 
How much higher would the water rise, and would their weight be 
sufficient to keep the stack upon the staddles if the water rose much 
higher, were questions which arose in their minds, and they had but 
slight expectations that the result would be in their favor. The ques- 
tions were soon answered. \ huge cake of ice struck the stack, jar- 
ring it off the staddles, and it floated away with its human freight 
through the sea that was raging around them. The snow was falling 
so thickly and the clouds were so heavy and dark that they could see 
nothing but the water that covered the marshes. The points of the 
compass were entirely unas certain able, and they could not tell the course 
in which they were being driven. Around them only the turbulent 
waters could be seen. Sometimes they went directly forward, and at 
intervals the stack whirled around, threatening ever)' time to go to 
pieces or throw them from it into the freejing waters where they would 
become benumbed and quickly perish by drowning. At length, with 
horror, they felt the stack suddenly disintegrate beneath them. But 
their hopelessness was turned to joy as another stack of hay, large 
and solid, came along so near to them that they leaped upon it. They 
were driven along on this new stack, exposed to the extreme cold, 
snow and wind, and the water which continually dashed upon them, 
for two hours longer. During their inactivity they became almost stu- 
pefied with the cold, and began to feel sleepy. In this semi-conscious 
condition they chanced to look about them and saw land only about 
four rods away. Toward this the wind had driven them. Between 
them and the land were cakes of ice, which hindered the stack from 
approaching nearer the shore. The place was Smith's cove, so-called, 
at Little Neck, in Ipswich, situated between three and four miles 
from the place where the men were set adrift on the first stack. They 
made no exertion to get ashore, but lay there a considerable time. 
After a while, they discovered that they were being carried out to sea 




138 HISTORIC CTOKMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

by the wind and tide. This brought them to their sense of sel^res^ 
ervation. Mr. Pulsifer immediately threw himself upon the ice and 
advised his companion to do the same. Mr. Elwcll was so stupefied 
with the cold that it seemed impossible for hira to ever reach the land ; 
but after considerable endeavor he managed to get on a floating cake 
and reached the shore in safety. Mr. Pulsifer succeeded in getting 
near enough to the shore to touch the bottom with his feet; but his 
legs were so benumbed by the cold that he could not step. For a 
while it seemed that he must die though only a rod from the shore; 
but before it was too late he conceived the idea of moving his legs. 
ahead one at a time by his hands, as if they had been sticks. By this 
means he reached the land safely. Now they felt themselves saved, 
and the thought of their preservation invigorated their faculties. 
They r.in a few rods to get warm and recover the full use of their 
limbs. But where were they? They had not given a thought to the 
location of the land where they were. The fact that it was the solid 
earth was enough to satisfy them for the first few moments they were 
upon it. Probably they had but a faint conception of the distance 
and direction they had been driven while on the stacks of hay. On 
looking about they found that they were on an uninhabited island, 
and though the mainland was not far away it was impossible to reach, 
it. They must either freeze or starve to death if they remained where 
they were. They found a stack of dry hay and into that they crept 
for warmth. At length, they came out and went upon the highest 
part of the island and with what strengih of voice they had they 
shouted for help, that being the only thing they could dd. After a 
while a man was seen on the mainland by Mr. Pulsifer, and feeling 
that by him was a way of escape from their dangerous situation they 
made a vigorous demonstration ; but in vain, the man unheeding 
passed out of sight. They now became utterly discouraged, and 
death seemed to be their inevitable lot. They had had nothing 
to eat for about two days, and the pangs of hunger intensified their 
hopelessness. Their hopes again revived, however, when three- 
quarters of an hour later Maj. Chades Smith of Ipswich, with his 
two sons, came within sight of the island in search of some stray 
sheep. O.ie of the men stood upon the stack of hay, waved his hat, 
and hallooed for assistance. One of Major Smith's sons saw hira 
and the father, who knew of a causeway leading to the island which 



I 

I 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 



I!9 



s then covered with water about a yard deep, waded througli it t 
the place where the men were. They were assisted lo Major Smith's 
liouse, which was some little distance away, and he provided ihera 
■*vith everything necessary to their comfort. On Thursday they r 
turned to their homes, thankful that their lives which h.id several times 
seemed lost were preserved. 

On the night of Friday of the same week another terrible snow 
storm with a furious northeast wind began. It continued through tiie 
next day, increasing as night came on, and abated Sunday morning. 
The snow was already very deep, and this storm so increased its depth 
that it was estimated at this time there was more snow on the ground 
than there was in the winter of the great snow, seventy years before. 
Travelling was extremely difficult and in many places it was totally 
Stopped. In Boston, on the day following that on which the storm 
had cleared off, a number of people were employed in " levelling " 
the snow in the streets, and.tlie next day the Masmchuiells Gazette 
of the time said, " It is hoped they an<1 many others will turn out 
this day for the same laudable and necessary purpose." Up to this 
period the roads and streets were not cleared of snow, except in a 
few unimportant instances, and they remained in the condition in 
which the storm left them, whether the snow came on a level or in 
drifts. And it would seem that even in Boston it was unusual for the 
people to remove, level or path the snow. The roads were com- 
pletely filled from wall to wall throughout New England. The people 
could not get to the churches on Sunday on account of the great 
drifts, and so of course no religious services were held. 

This was one of the most difficult storms to withstand that was ever 
experienced. Several persons who were out in it became lost and 
■were smothered to death in the snow, or, becoming exhausted, sank 
down and perished witli the cold. A man living near Portland, Me., 
left that place for his home and was never again heard from, it being 
supposed Ihat he died on the way. 

On Saturday evening, Thomas Hooper and Valentine Tidder, jr., 
of Marblehead, Mass., who had been in Salem during the afternoon, 
aarted in the storm on the return home about dark. They did not 
come, and it was supposed by their families an<l friends that they had 
forborne risking their lives in the cold and snow, remaining at Salem 
: night and that when the storm abated and travelling became 



128 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

by the wind and tide. This brought them to their sense of self-pres- 
ervation, Mr, Pulsifer immediately tlirew himself upon the ice antt 
advised his companion to do the same. Mr. Elwell was so stupefied 
with the cold that it seemed impossible for him to ever reach the land 
but after considerable endeavor he managed to get on a floating cata 
and reached the shore in safety. Mr. Pulsifer succeeded in getting-, 
near enough to the shore to touch the bottom with his feet ; but hiff 
legs were so benumbed by the cold that he could not step. For a! 
while it seemed that he must die though only a rod from the shore ; 
but before it was too late he conceived the idea of moving his legs, 
ahead one at a time by his hands, as if they had been sticks. By this 
means he reached the land safely. Now they felt themselves savedj 
and the thought of their preservation invigorated their faculties.. 
They ran a few rods to get warm and recover the full use of theiF 
limbs. But where were they? 1 hey had not given a thought toth» 
location of the land where they were. The fact that it was the solii 
earth was enough to satisfy them for the first few moments they i 
upon it. Probably they had but a faint conception of the distance' 
and direction they had been driven while on the stacks of hay. On 
looking about they found that they were on an uninhabited island, 
and though the mainland was not far away it was impossible to reach 
it. They must either freeze or starve to death if they remained where 
they were. They found a stack of dry hay and into that they crept 
for warmth. At length, they came out and went upon the highest 
part of the island and with what strength of voice they had they 
shouted for help, that being the only thing they could dd. After 
while a man was seen on the mainland by Mr, Pulsifer, and feelii^f, 
that by him was a way of escape from their dangerous situation they 
made a vigorous demonstration ; but in vain, the man unheeding 
passed out of sight. They now became utterly discouraged, and 
death seemed to be their inevitable lot. They had had nothing- 
to eat for about two days, and the pangs of hunger intensified their 
hopelessness. Their hopes again revived, however, when three- 
quarters of an hour later Maj, Charles Smuh of Ipswich, with his 
two sons, came within sight of the island in search of some stray 
sheep. One of the men stood upon the stack of hay, waved his hat, 
and hallooed for assistance. One of Major Smith's sons saw him 
and the fjlher, who knew of a causeway leading to the island which 



HISIIDRIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 129 

then covered with water about a yard deep, waded through it to 
the place where the men were. They were assisted to Major Smith's 
house, which was some little distance away, and he provided them 
with everything necessary to their comfort. On Thursday they re- 
turned to their homes, thankful that their lives which had several times 
seemed lost were preserved. 

On the night of Friday of the same week another terrible snow 

with a furious northeast wind began. It continued through the 

day, increasing as night came on, and abated Sunday morning. 

already very deep, am! this storm so increased its depth 

that it was estimated at this time there was more snow on the ground 

than there was in the winter of the great snow, seventy years before. 

Travelling was extremely difficult and in many places it was totally 

stopped. In Boston, on the day following that on which the storm 

had cleared off, a number of people were employed in " levelling " 

the snow in ihe streets, and , the next day the Massachusetts Gazelle 

the time said, "It is hoped they and many others will turn out 
day for the same laudable and necessary purpose," Up to this 

iod the roads and streets were not cleared of snow, except in a 
few unimportant instances, and ihey remained in the condition in 
which the storm left them, whether the snow came on a level or in 
drifts. And it would seem that even in Boston it was unusual for the 
people to remove, level or path the snow. The roads were com- 
pletely filled from wall to wall throughout New England. The people 
could not get to the churches on Sunday on account of the great 
drifts, and so of course no religious services were held. 

This was one of the most difficult storms to withstand that was ever 
experienced. Several persons who were out in it became lost and 
were smothered to death in the snow, or, becoming exhausted, sank 
down and perished with the cold, A man living near Portland, Me., 
left that place for his home and was never again heard from, it being 
supposed Ihat he died on the way. 

On Saturday evening, Thomas Hooper and Valentine Tidder, jr., 
of Marbtehead, Mass., who had been in Salem during the afternoon, 
started in the storm on the return home about dark. They did not 
come, and it was supposed by their families and friends that they had 
forborne risking their lives in the cold and snow, remaining at Salem 
imer night and that when the storm abated and travelling became 



^H On 

fe 

that 
than 
Trai 

had 
^^eri< 



128 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

by the wind and tide. This brought them to their sense of self-pres- 
ervation, Mr. Pulsifer immediately threw himself upon the ice and 
advised his companion to do the same. Mr. Elwell was so stupefied 
with the cold that it seemed impossible for him to ever reach the land ;• 
but after considerable endeavor he managed to get on a floatmg cake- 
and reached the shore in safely. Mr. Pulsifer succeeded in getting" 
near enough to the shore to touch the bottom with his feet; but hi» 
legs were so benumbed by the cold that he could not step. For a 
while it seemed that he must die though only a rod from the shore 
but before it was too late he conceived the idea of moving his legs, 
ahead one at a time by his hands, as if they had been sticks. By thi* 
means he reached the land safely. Now they felt themselves saved,. 
and the thought of their preservation invigorated their faculti 
They ran a few rods to get warm and recover the full use of theip 
limbs. But where were they ? 1 hey had not given a thought to the 
location of the land where they were. The feet that it was the solid 
earth was enough to satisfy them for the first few moments they 
upon it. Probably they had but a faint conception of the distance' 
and direction they had been driven while on the stacks of hay. Oil'. 
looking about they found that they were on an uninhabited island, 
and though the mainland was not far away it was impossible to reach 
it. They must either freeze or starve to death if they remained where- 
they were, lliey found a stack of dry hay and into that they crept 
for warmth. At length, they came out and went upon the highest 
part of the island and with what strengih of voice they had they 
shouted for help, that being the only thing they could dcS. After 
while a man was seen on the mainland by Mr. Pulsifer, and feeling 
that by him was a way of escape from tlieir dangerous situation theyt 
made a vigorous demonstration ; but in vain, the man unheeding, 
passed out of sight. They now became utterly discouraged, and 
death seemed to be their inevitable lot. They had had nothing 
to eat for about two days, and the pangs of hunger inlensified theif 
hopelessness. Their hopes again revived, however, when three- 
quarters of an hour later Maj. Charles Smith of Ipswich, with his- 
two sons, came within sight of the island in search of some stray 
sheep, Oiie of the men stood upon the stack of hay, waved his hat. 
and hallooed for assistance. One of Major Smith's sons saw him 
and the father, who knew of a causeway leading to the island which 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 121} 

was then covered with water about a yard deep, waded througli it to 
the place where the men were. They were assisted to Major Smitli's 
house, which was some little distance away, and he provided them 
with everything necessary to their comfort. On Thursday they re- 
turned to their homes, thankful that their lives which had several times 
seemed lost were preserved. 

On the night of Friday of the same week another terrible snow 
storm with a furious northeast wind began. It continued through the 
next day, increasing as night came on, and abated Sunday morning. 
The snow was already very deep, and this storm so increased its depth 
that it was estimated at this time there was more snow on the ground 
than there was in the winter of the great snoiv, seventy years before. 
Travelling was extremely difficult and in many places it was totally 
stopped. In Boston, on the day following that on which the storm 
had cleared off, a number of people were employed in " levelling " 

■the snow in the streets, and , the next day the Massachuselis Gaulle 
Df the time said, " It is hoped they and many others will turn out 
BOS day for the same laudable and necessary purpose." Up to this 
■Riod the roads and streets were not cleared of snow, except in a 
RV unimportant instances, and they remained in the condiiion in 
nich the storm left them, whether the snow came on a level or in 
ttifts. And it would seem that even in Boston it was unusual for the 
people to remove, level or path the snow. The roads were com- 
pletely filled from wall to wall throughout New England. The people 
could not get to the churches on Sunday on account of the great 
drifts, and so of course no religious services were held. 

This was one of the most difficult storms to withstand that was ever 
experienced. Several persons who were out in it became lost and 
were smothered to death in the snow, or, becoming exhausted, sank 
down and perished with the cold. A man living near Portland, Me., 
left that place for his home and was never again heard from, it being 
supposed that he died on the way. 

On Saturday evening, Thomas Hooper and Valentine Tidder, jr., 
of Marblehead, Mass., who had been in Salem during the afternoon, 
started in the storm on the return home about dark. They did not 
come, and it was supposed by their families and friends that ihey had 
forborne risking their lives in the cold and snow, remaining at Salem 
night and that when the storm abated and travelling became 



lao HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

by the wind and tide. This brought them to their sense of self-pres- 
ervation. Mr. Pulsifer immediately tlirew himself upon Che ice antt 
advised his companion to do the same. Mr. Elwell was so stupefied 
with the cold that it seemed impossible for him to ever reach the land ; 
but after considerable endeavor he managed to get on a fioatiog cake 
and reached the shore in safety. Mr. Pulsifer succeeded in gettingf 
near enough to the shore to touch the bottom with his feet ; but his 
legs were so benumbed by the cold that he could not step. For a' 
while it seemed that he must die though only a rod from the shore ; 
but before it was too late he conceived the idea of moving his le^ 
ahead one at a time by his hands, as if they had been sticks. By this 
means he reached the land safely. Now they felt themselves saved, 
and the thought of their preservation invigorated their faculties.- 
They ran a few rods to get warm and recover the full use of their 
limbs. But where were they? They had not given a thought to the 
location of the land where they were. The fact that it was the solid 
earth was enough to satisfy them for the first few moments they were 
upon it. Probably they had but a faint conception of the distance 
and direction they had been driven while on the stacks of hay. On 
looking about they found that they were on an uninhabited island, 
and though the mainland was not far away it was impossible to reach 
it. They must either freeze or starve to death if they remained -where 
they were. They found a stack of dry hay and into that they crept 
for warmth. At length, they came out and went upon the highest 
part of the island and with what strength of voice they had they. 
shouted for help, that being the only thing they could do. After a 
while a man was seen on the mainland by Mr. Pulsifer, and feeling, 
that by him was a way of escape from their dangerous situation thejft 
made a vigorous demonstration ; but in vain, the man unheeding, 
passed out of sight. They now became utterly discouraged, and 
death seemed to be their inevitable lot. They had had nothing 
to eat for about two days, and the pangs of hunger intensified their 
hopelessness. Their hopes again revived, however, when three- 
quarters of an hour later Maj. Charles Smith of Ipswich, with his 
two sons, came within sight of the island in search of some stray 
sheep. Oiie of the men stood upon the stack of hay, waved his hat, 
and hallooed for assistance. One of Major Smith's sons saw him 
and tiie f.itlier, who knew of a causeway leading to the island which 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. Iig 

s then covered with water about a yard deep, waded througii it to 
e place where the men were. They were assisted to Major Smith's 
:, which was some little distance away, and he provided ihem 
' with everything necessary to their comfort. On Thursday they re- 
turned to their homes, thankful that their lives which had several times 
seemed lost were preserved. 

On the night of Friday of the same week another terrible snow 
storm with a furious northeast wind began. It continued through the 
next day, increasing as night came on, and abated Sunday morning. 

I The snow was already very deep, anil this storm so increased its depth 
fliat it was estimated at this time there was more snow on the ground 
fean there was in the winter of the great snow, seventy years before. 
Travelling was extremely difficuh and in many places it was totally 
(topped. In Boston, on the day following that on which the storm 
had cleared off, a number of people were employed in " levelling " 
Ae snow in the streets, and , the next day the Massachusetts Gazette 
of the time said, " It is hoped they and many others will turn out 
this day for the same laudable and necessary purpose." Up to this 
period the roads and streets were not cleared of snow, except in a 
few unimportant instances, and they remained in the condition in 
which the storm left them, whether the snow came on a level or in 
drifts. And it would seem that even in Boston it was unusual for the 
people to remove, level or path the snow. The roads were com- 
pletely filled from wall to wall throughout New England, The people 
could not get to the churclies on Sunday on account of tlie great 
drifts, and so of course no religious services were held. 

This was one of the most difficuh storms to withstand that was ever 
experienced. Several persons who were out in it became lost and 
were smothered to death in the snow, or, becoming exhausted, sank 
down and perished with the cold. A man living near Portland, Me., 
left that place for his home and was never again heard from, it being 
supposed that he died on the way. 

On Saturday evening, Thomas Hooper and Valentine Tidder, jr., 
of Marblehead, Mass., who had been in Salem during the afternoon, 
started in the storm on the return home about dark. They did not 
come, and it was supposed by their families and friends that they had 
forborne risking their lives in the cold and snow, remaining at Salem 
over night and that when the storm abated and travelling became 



128 mSTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

by the wind and tide. This brought them to their sense of seir-prea- 
ervation. Mr. Pulsifer immediately t)jrew himself upon the ice and 
advised his companion to do the same. Mr. Elweil was so stupefied 
with the cold that it seemed impossible for him to ever reach the land 
but after considerable endeavor he managed to get on a floating cake 
and reached the shore in safety. Mr. Pulsifer succeeded in getting 
near enough to the shore to touch the bottom with his feet ; but his. 
legs were so benumbed by the cold that he could not step. For a 
while it seemed that he must die though only a rod from the shore; 
but before it was too late he conceived the idea of moving his le^ 
ahead one at a time by his hands, as if they had been sticks. By this 
means he reached the land safely. Now they felt themselves saved, 
and the thought of their preservation invigorated their faculties. 
They ran a few rods to get warm and recover the full use of their- 
limbs. But where were they? They had not given a thought to the 
location of the land where they were. The fact that it was the solid, 
earth was enough to satisfy them for the first few moments they were 
upon it. Probably they had but a faint conception of the distance 
and direction they had been driven while on the stacks of hay. On 
looking about they found that they were on an uninhabited island, 
and though the mainland was not far away it was impossible to reach^ 
it. They must either freeze or starve to death if they remained where, 
they were. "Hiey found a stack of dry hay and into that they crept 
for warmth. At length, they came out and went upon the highest 
part of the island and with what strength of voice they had they 
shouted for help, that being the only thing they could dd. After a. 
while a man was seen on the mainland by Mr. Pulsifer, and feeling' 
that by him was a way of escape from their dangerous situation theyt' 
made a vigorous demonstration ; but in vain, the man unheeding, 
passed out of sight. They now became utterly discouraged, and 
death seemed to be their inevitable lot. They had had nothing: 
to eat for about two days, and the pangs of hunger intensified their 
hopelessness. Their hopes again revived, however, when three- 
quarters of an hour later Maj. Charles Smith of Ipswich, with his 
two sons, came within sight of the island in search of some stray, 
sheep. One of the men stood upon the stack of hay, waved his hat. 
and hallooed for assistance. One of Major Smith's sons saw him 
and the father, who knew of a causeway leading to the island which 



RMS OF NEW ENGLA^fD. I29 

^was then covered with water about a yard deep, waded through it to 
the place where the men were. They were assisted to Major Smith's 
house, which was some little distance away, and he provided iliem 
wtlh everything necessary to their comfort. On Thursday they re- 
turned to their homes, thankful that their lives which had several times 
seemed lost were preserved. 
On the night of Friday of the same week another terrible snow 
a furious northeast wind began. It continued through the 
att day, increasing as night came on, and abated Sunday morning. 
the snow was already very deep, and this storm so increased its depth 
liat it was estimated at this time there was more snow on the ground 
1 there was in the winter of the great snow, seventy years before. 
iveUing was extremely difficuh and in many places it was totally 
(opped. In Boston, on ihe day following that on which the storm 
1 cleared off", a number of people were employed in " levelling " 
Wfite snow in the streets, and , the next day the Mttisachusrtls GazetU 
of the time said, " It is hoped they and many others will turn out 
this day for the same laudable and necessary purpose," Up to this 
period the roads and streets were not cleared of snow, except in a 
few iiniinportant instances, and they remained in the condition in 
which the storm left them, whether the snow came on a level or in 
drifts. And it would seem that even in Boston it was unusual for the 
people to remove, level or path the snow. The roads were com- 
pletely filled from wall to «al! throughout New England. The people 
could not get to the churciies on Sunday on account of the great 
drifts, and so of course no religions services were held. 

This was one of the most difficult storms to withstand that was ever 
experienced. Several persons who were out in it became lost and 
were smothered to death in the snow, or, becoming exhausted, sank 
down and perished with the cold. A man living near Portland, Me., 
left that place for his home and was never again heard from, it being 
supposed that he died on the way. 

On Saturday evening, Thomas Hooper and Valentine Tidder, jr., 
of Marblehead, Mass., who had been in Salem during the afternoon, 
started in the storm on the return home about dark. They did not 
come, and it was supposed by their famihes and friends that they had 
forborne risking their lives in the cold and snow, remaining at Salem 
night and that when the storm abated and travellmg became 



138 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

by the wind and tide. This brought them to their sense of self-pres- 
ervation. Mr. Pubifer immediately tbrew himself upon the ice and 
advised his companion to do the same, Mr. Elwell was so stupefied 
with the cold that it seemed impossible for him to ever reach the land ;- 
but after considerable endeavor he managed to get on a Boating cake 
and reached the shore in safety. Mr. Pulsifer succeeded in getting* 
near enough to the shore to touch the bottom with his feet; but his 
legs were so benumbed by the cold that he could not step. For a 
while it seemed that he must die though only a rod from tlie shore j. 



but before it was too late he 
ahead one at a time by his hands, 
means he reached the land safely, 
and the thought of their pre: 
They ran a few rods to get w, 



'ed the idea of moving his le^ 
i if they had been sticks. By this 
Now they felt themselves savedj 
i go rated their faculties.- 
,d recover the full use of their 



limbs. But where were they? They had not given a thought to the 
location of the land where they were. The fact that it was the solid 
earth was enough to satisfy them for the first few moments they were; 
upon it. Probably they had but a faint conception of the distance' 
and direction they had been driven while on the stacks of hay. On. 
looking about they found that they were on an uninhabited island, 
and though the mainland was not far away it was impossible to reach 
it Theymust either freeze or starve to death if they remained where 
they were. They found a stack of dry hay and into that they crept 
for warmth. At length, they came out and went upon the highest 
part of the island and with what strength of voice they had they 
shouted for help, that being the only thing they could do. After a 
while a man was seen on the mainland by Mr. Pulsifer, and feeling 
that by him was a way of escape from their dangerous situation theyi 
made a vigorous demonstration ; but in vain, the man unheedingp 
passed out of sight. They now became utterly discouraged, and 
death seemed to be their inevitable lot. They had had nothing' 
to eat for about two days, and the pangs of hunger intensified their 
hopelessness. Their hopes again revived, however, when three- 
quarters of an hour later Maj. Charles Smith of Ipswich, with his 
two sons, came within sight of the island in search of some stray 
sheep. One of the men stood upon the stack of hay, waved his hat, 
and hallooed for assistance. One of Major Smith's sons saw him 
and the fatlier, who knew of a causeway leading to the island which 






HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. tjg 

was then covered with water about a yard deep, waded through it to 
the place where the men were. They were assisted lo Major Smith's 
house, which was some little distance away, and he provided them 
with everything necessary to their comfort. On Thursday they re- 
turned to their homes, thankful that their lives which had several limes 
seemed lost were preserved. 

the night of Friday of the same week another terrible snow 
with a furious northeast wind began. It continued through the 

:xt day, increasing as night came on, and abated Sunday morning, 
already very deep, and this storm so increased its depth 
that it was estimated at this time there was more snow on the ground 
than there was in the winter of the great snow, seventy years before. 
Travelling was extremely difficult and in many places it was totally 
stopped. In Boston, on the day following that on which the storm 
had cleared off, a number of people were employed in " levelling " 
the snow in the streets, and. the next day the Massachusetts Gazette 
of the time said, " It is hoped they and many others will turn out 
this day for the same laudable and necessary purpose." Up to this 
period the roads and streets were not cleared of snow, except in a 
few unimportant instances, and they remained in the condition in 
which the storm left them, whether the snow came on a level or in 
drifts. And it would seem that even in Boston it was unusual for the 
people to remove, level or path the snow. The roads were com- 
pletely filled from wall to wall throughout New England. The people 
could not get to the churches on Sunday on account of the great 
drifts, and so of course no rehgious services were held. 

This was one of the most difficult storms to withstand that was ever 
experienced. Several persons who were out in it became lost and 
were smothered to death in the snow, or, becoming eshausted, sank 
down and perished with the cold. A man hving near Portland, Me., 
left that place for his home and was never again heard from, it being 
supposed that he died on the way. 

On Saturday evening, Thomas Hooper and Valentine Tidder, jr., 
of Marblehead, Mass., who had been in Salem during tlie afternoon, 
started in the storm on the return home about dark. They did not 
come, and it was supposed by their families and friends that they had 
forborne risking their lives in the cold and snow, remaining at Salem 
over night and that wiien the storm abated and travellmg became 



laa HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. ^H 

by the wind and tide. This brought them to iheir sense of self^^eS' 
ervation. Mr. Pukifer immediately tlirew himself upon the ice 
advised his companion to do the same. Mr. Elwell was so slnpefied 
with the cold that it seemed impossible for him to ever reach the land ; 
but after considerable endeavor he managed to get on a floating cake 
and reached the shore in sa/ely. Mr. Pulsifer succeeded in getting 
near enough to the shore to touch the bottom with his feet ; but his 
legs were so benumbed by the cold that he could not step. For a. 
while it seemed that he must die though only a rod from the shore ; 
but before it was too late he conceived the idea of moving his legs 
ahead one at a time by his hands, as if they had been sticks. By this 
means he reached the land safely. Now they felt themselves saved, 
and the thought of their preser\'ation invigorated their faculties. 
They ran a few rods to get warm and recover the full use of their 
limbs. But where were they? They had not given a thought to the 
location of the land where they were. The fact that it was the solid 
earth was enough to satisfy them for the first few moments they were 
upon it. Probably they had but a faint conception of the distance 
and direction they had been driven while on the stacks of hay. 
looking about they found that they were on an uninhabited island, 
and though the mainland was not far away it was impossible to reach 
it They must either freeze or starve to death if they remained where 
they were. They found a stack of dry hay and into that they crept 
for warmth. At length, they came out and went upon the highest 
part of the island and with what strength of voice they had they 
shouted for help, that being the only tiling they could dd. After a 
while a man was seen on the mainland by Mr. Pulsifer, and feeling 
that by him was a way of escape from their dangerous situation they' 
made a vigorous demonstration; but in vain, the man unheeding 
passed out of sight. They now became utterly discouraged, and 
death seemed to be their inevitable lot. They had had nothing 
to eat for about two days, and the pangs of hunger intensified their 
hopelessness. Their hopes again revived, however, when three- 
quarters of an hour later Maj. Charles Smiih of Ipswich, with his 
two sons, came within sight of the island in search of some stray 
sheep. O.ie of the men stood upon the stack of hay, waved his hat. 
and hallooed for assistance. One of Major Smith's sons saw him 
and t!ie father, who knew of a causeway leading to the island which 



^^ On 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. I29 

was then covered with water about a yard deep, waded through it to 
the place where the men were. They were assisted to Major Smith's 
house, which was some little distance away, and he provided them 
with everything necessary to their comfort. On Thursday thev re- 
lumed to their homes, thankfiil that their lives which had several times 
seemed lost were preserved. 

On the night of Friday of the same week another terrible snow 
with a furious northeast wind began. It continued through the 
day, increasing as night came on, and abated Sunday morning, 
was already very deep, and this storm so increased its depth 
that it was estimated at this time there was more snow on the ground 
than there was in the winter of the great snoiv, seventy years before. 
Travelling was extremely difficult and in many places it was totally 
stopped. In Boston, on the day following that on which the storm 
had cleared off, a number of people were employed in " levelling " 
the snow in the streets, and, the next day the Massachusetts Gazelle 
of the time said, " It is hoped they and many others will turn out 
this day for the same laudable and necessary purpose." Up to this 
period the roads and streets were not cleared of snow, except in a 
few unimportant instances, and they remained in the condition in 
which the storm left them, whether the snow came on a level or in 
drifts. And it would seem that even in Boston it was unusual for the 
people to remove, level or path the snow. The roads were com- 
pletely filled from wall to wall throughout New England. The people 
could not get to the churches on Sunday on account of the great 
drifts, and so of course no religious services were held. 

This was one of the most difficult storms to withstand that was ever 
experienced. Several persons who were out in it became lost aud 
were smothered to death in the snow, or, becoming exhausted, sank 
down and perished with the cold. A man living near Portland, Me., 
left that place for his home and was never again heard from, it being 
supposed that he died on the way. 

On Saturday evening, Thomas Hooper and Valentine Tidder, jr., 
of Marblehead, Mass., who had been in Salera during the afternoon, 
started in the storm on the return home about dark. They did not 
come, and it was supposed by their families and friends that they had 
forborne risking their lives in the cold and snow, remaining at Salem 
over night and that when the storm abated and travelluig became 



128 



STORMS OF NEW 



by the wind and tide. This brought them to their sense of self-pres- 
ervation, Mr, Pulsifer itnniedialely threw himself upon the ice and 
advised his companion to do the same. Mr. Elwell was so stupefied 
with the cold that it seemed impossible for him to ever reach the land 
but after considerable endeavor he managed to get on a floating cake- 
and reached the shore in safety. Mr. Pulsifer succeeded in getting" 
near enough to the shore to touch ihe bottom with his feet; but hisf 
legs were so benumbed by the cold that he could not step. For 
while it seemed that he must die though only a rod from the shore; 
but before it was too late lie conceived the idea of moving his le^, 
ahead one at a time by his hands, as if they had been sticks. By this 
means he reached the land safely. Now they felt themselves saved, 
and the thought of their preservation invigorated their faculties. 
They ran a few rods to get wjnu and recover the full use of theip 
limbs. But where were they? They had not given a thought to the 
location of the land where tiiey were. The fact that it was the solid 
earth was enough to satisfy them for the first few moments they i 
upon it. Probably they had but a faint conception of the distance- 
and direction they had been driven while on the stacks of hay, Oo 
looking about they found that they were on an uninhabited island, 
and though the mainland was not far away it was impossible to reach 
it. They must either freeze or siarve to death if they remained where 
they were. They found a stack of dry hay and into that they crept 
for warmth. At length, they came out and went upon the highest 
part of the island and with what strenglh of voice they had they 
shouted for help, that being the only thing they could dd. After i 
while a man was seen on the mainland by Mr, Pulsifer, and feelJnj 
that by him was a way of escape from tlieir dangerous situation thej^' 
made a vigorous demonstration ; but in vain, the man unheeding', 
passed out of sight. They now became utterly discouraged, and' 
death seemed to be their inevitable lot. They had had nothing 
to eat for about two days, and the pangs of hunger intensified their 
hopelessness. Their hopes again revived, however, when three-- 
quarters of an hour later Maj. Charles Smith of Ipswich, with his: 
two sons, came within sight of the island in search of some stray 
sheep. O.ie of the men stood upon the stack of hay, waved his hat, 
and hallooed for assistance. One of Major Smith's sons saw him 
and the father, who knew of a causeway leading to the island which 



HISTORIC STORMS OF N 

" was then covered with water about a yard deep, waded ihrougli it to 
the place where the men were. They were assisted to Major Smitli's 
house, which was some little distance away, and he provided them 
with everything necessary to their comfort. On Thursday they re- 
turned to their homes, tliankfiil that their lives which had several times 
seemed lost were preserved. 

On the night of Friday of the same week another terrible snow 
storm with a furious northeast wind began. It continued through the 
next day, increasing as night came on, and abated Sunday morning. 
The snow was already very deep, and this storm so increased its depth 
that it was estimated al this time there was more snow on the ground 
than there was in the winter of the great snow, seventy years before. 
Travelling was extremely difficult and in many places it was totally 
stopped. In Boston, on the day following that on which the storm 
had cleared olf, a number of people were employed in " levelling " 
the snow in the streets, and.tlie next day the Massachiiselts Gazelle 
of the time said, " It is hoped they and many others will turn out 
this day for the same laudable and necessary purpose." Up to this 
period the roads and streets were not cleared of snow, except in a 
few unimportant instances, and they remained in the condiiion in 
which the storm left them, whether the snow came on a level or in 
drifts. And it would seem that even in Boston it was unusual for the 
people to remove, level or path the snow. The roads were com- 
pletely filled from wall to wall ihruugbout New England. The people 
could not get to the churches on Sunday on account of the great 
drifts, and so of course no religious services were held. 

This was one of the most difficult storms to withstand that was ever 
experienced. Several persons who were out in it became lost and 
were smothered to death in the snow, or, becoming exhausted, sank 
down and perished with the cold. A man hving near Portland, Me., 
left that place for his home and was never again heard from, it being 
supposed that he died on the way. 

On Saturday evening, Thomas Hooper and Valentine Tidder, jr., 
of Marblehead, Mass., who had been in Salem during the afternoon, 
started in the storm on the return home about dark. They did not 
come, and it was supposed by their families and friends that they had 
forborne risking their lives in the cold and snow, remaining at Salem 
over night and that when the storm abated and travelling became 



i$o 



STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 



practicable they would return in safety. But before the storm had 
cleared, news came that the men had been seen in the evening on 
their way to Marblehead. Then their families knew that there was but 
little chance of their being alive, for if they had reached Marblehead 
they would have come home. A searching party, consisting of a 
large number of their townsmen, was formed and during Monday 
they searched the snow in the road over whicii the men would be 
most likely to travel on their way home ; but night came, and ihey 
had not been foimd. The search was renewed on the following morn- 
ing, and this time it was successful, the bodies being found in the 
fields at some distance from the road and apart, as if the men had 
become separated and wandered from each other. The funeral of 
one of them took place on Thursday and of the other on the Friday 
following. Mr. Hooper left a wife and a large number of children, 
and Mr, Tidder, who was considerably younger than Mr. Hooper, 
left parents and a wife and chilil. The bereaved were very deeply 
aflected by the sad and sudden deaths. 

A sadder case than the foregoing occurred on the same evening 
at Litchfield, Conn. The storm was very severe there, the snow came 
in great quantities, and the wind blew a gale. A man by the name 
of Elisha Birge lived in a liouse which was so old and decayed that 
his wife Mary, who was naturally timid, thought it could not with- 
stand the tempest. She was afraid to remain in it through the night, 
and on this Saturday evening, in spite of her husband's persuasions, 
started out to go to a neighbor's to spend the night. She soon lost 
her way in the blinding storm and wandered about in the cold and 
whirling snow, floundering in the great drifts until she knew not where 
she was. She had not been gone long when her husbnnd repented 
letting her go off on her hazardous journey alone and started after 
her. He soon overtook her, and together they tried to find the house 
she sought. But after wandering about for some time in theii fruit- 
less search, slie sat down by the trunk of an ancient tree to rest. 
Mr. Birge suggested that they had mistaken tiie road and urged her 
to return. She made no reply, and looking at her he discovered that 
she had fallen asleep, cold and exhaustion having taken away her 
senses. He tried to arouse her from her stupor, but it was too late, 
and she expired in bis arms. 

The storm was very severe along the coast. In Long Island soimd, 



^ 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW 

^5^^" vessels went ashore, and some were entirely lost. All the 
vessels at Stonington, Conn., were driven ashore, except a small 
schooner whicli was forced out to sea and never heard from. At 
Newport, R, I., ten or twelve ships, brigs and other vessels of the 
larger build were driven from the wharves and forced on shore at 
Brenton's Neck, and a considerable number of small craft were 
dashed to pieces. A small schooner bound from Freetown to Newport 
foundered, and several people that were on board were drowned. 
Two sloops went ashore at Nantasket beach, and a small schooner 
was cast away at or near Cape Ann, its crew perishing. 

A sloop, engaged in coasting between Damariscotta and Boston, 
Capt. John Askins, master, was driven on Lovell's island in Boston 
harbor. There were thirteen' persons on board, twelve men and one 
woman, all of whom perished. Their bodies were found, and on the 
Thursday following brought up to town. Besides the captain, the per- 
sons lost were John Adams {or Adamson) of Medfield, two young 
men by the name of Cowell, a Mr. Grout of Sherburne, Samuel Ham 
of Durham, N. H., Miss Sylvia Knapp of Mansfield, Henry Read of 
Boothbay, Joseph Robeshaw of Wteiitham, two men by the name of 
Rockwood, Capt. Oliver Rouse and a sailor belonging in Nova Sco- 
tia, whose name is unknown. All the bodies were soon found except 
those of Captain Rouse and John Adams, which were not discovered 
until the second day of January, more than three weeks after the dis- 
aster, when they were dug out of the snow and brouglit up to the 
town. Adams was buried the same day, under the direction of the 
coroner. Captain Rouse had been an officer in the American army 
in the revolution, and his body was conveyed to the house of his 
friend John McLane, on Newbury street, whence the interment took 
place on the evening of Sunday, the next day. The next year the 
Massachusetts Humane Society erected On this island a small house 
for the relief of shipwrecked mariners. It stood on the northwest 
side of the island, about sixty rods from the shore. 

On Cape Cod, a schooner, belonging to Boston, Captain Godfrey, 
naaster, while on a trip from the eastward, was driven ashore, and all 
on board perished. On Sunday morning, the schooner Nancy of Sa- 
lem, Mass,, Captain Fairfield, master, bound from Port-au-Prince to 

< A later report said Chnl tuere neie nitcen, and that thiitBea or tbem were loat, bnt 



I30 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 



practicable they would return in safety. But before the stonii had 
cleared, news came that the men had been seen in the evening oo 
their way to Marblehead. Then their families knew that there was but 
litile chance of their being alive, for if they had reached Marblehead 
they would have come home. A searching party, consisting of a 
large number of their townsmen, was formed and during Monday 
they searched the snow in the road over which the men would be 
most likely to travel on their way home ; but night came, and they 
had not been foimd. The search was renewed on the following morn- 
ing, and this time it was successful, the bodies being found in the 
fields at some distance from the road and apart, as if the men had 
become separated and wandered from each other. The funeral of 
one of them took place on Thursday and of the other on the Friday 
following. Mr. Hooper left a wife and a large number of children, 
and Mr. Tidder, who was considerably younger than Mr. Hooper, 
left parents and a wife and child. The bereaved were very deeply 
affected by the sad and sudden deaths. 

A sadder case than the foregoing occurred on the same evening 
at Litchfield, Conn. The storm was very severe there, the snow came 
in great quantities, and the wind blew a gale. A man by the name 
of Elisha Birge lived in a house which was so old and decayed that 
his wife Mary, who was naturally timid, thought it could not with- 
stand the tempest. She was afraid to remain in it through the night, 
and on this Saturday evening, in spite of her husband's persuasions, 
started out to go to a neighbor's to spend the night. She soon tost 
her way in the blinding storm and wandered about in the cold and 
whirling snow, fioundering in the great drifts until she knew not where 
she was. She had not been gone long when her husband repented 
letting her go off on her hazardous journey alone and started after 
her. He soon overtook her, and together they tried to find the house 
she sought. But after wandering about for some time in their frait- 
less search, she sat down by the trunk of an ancient tree to rest. 
Mr. Birge suggested that they had mistaken the road and urged her 
to return. She made no reply, and looking at her he discovered that 
she had fallen asleep, cold and exhaustion having taken away her 
senses. He tried to arouse her from her stupor, but it was too late,. I 
and she expired in his arms. 

The storm was very severe along the coast. In Long Island sound, 



[siand sound, Tj 



HISTORIC STORMS C 

many vessels went ashore, and some were entirely lost. All the 
vessels at Stoiiington, Conn., were driven ashore, except a small 
schooner which was forced out to sea and never heard from. At 
Newport, R, I., ten or twelve ships, brigs and other vessels of the 
kiger build were driven from the wharves and forced on shore at 
Brenton's Neck, and a considerable number of small craft were 
dulled to pieces, A small schooner bound from Freetown to Newport 
foimdered, and several people that were on board were drowned. 
Two sloops went ashore at Nantasket beach, and a small schooner 
■was cast away at or near Cape Ann, its crew perishing. 

A sloop, engaged in coasting between Damariscotta and Boston, 
Opt. John Askins, master, was driven on Lovell's island in Boston 
liarbor. There were thirteen' persons on board, twelve men and one 
■woman, all of whom perished. Their bodies were found, and on the 
Thursday following brought up to town. Besides the captain, the per- 
sons lost were John Adams (or Adamson) of Medfield, two young 
men by the name of Cowell, a Mr. Grout of Sherburne, Samuel Ham 
of Durham, N. H., Miss Sylvia Knapp of Mansfield, Henry Read of 
Xoolhbay, Joseph Robeshaw of W'rentharo, two men by the name of 
Itockwood, Capt. Oliver Rouse and a sailor belonging in Nova Sco- 
tia, whose name is unknown. All the bodies were soon found except 
those of Captain Rouse and John Adams, which were not discovered 
■Until the second day of January, more than three weeks after the dis- 
aster, when they were dug out of the snow and brought up to the 
town. Adams was buried the same day, under the direction of the 
coroner. Captain Rouse had been an officer in the American army 
in the revolution, and his body was conveyed to the house of his 
friend John McLane, on Newbury street, whence the interment took 
place on the evening of Sunday, the next day. The next year the 
Massachusetts Humane Society erected on this island a small house 
for the relief of shipwrecked mariners. It stood on the northwest 
side of the island, about sixty rods from the shore. 

On Cape Cod, a schooner, belonging to Boston, Captain Godfrey, 
master, while on a trip from the eastward, was driven ashore, and all 
on board perished. On Sundjiy morning, the schooner Nancy of Sa- 
lem, Mass., Captain Fairfield, master, bound from Port-au-Prince to 

1 A later report satd thnt there weie tllteen, and that tblrteen of Ui«m were last, but 
fiJlod to give tbe nomeB of me oHicr two. 



130 



STORMS OF NEW 



practicable they would return in safety. But before the storm hac 
cleared, news came that the men had been seen in the evening oi 
their way to Marblehead. Then their families knew that there was but 
little chance of their being alive, for if they had reached Marblehead 
they would have come home. A searching party, consisting of a 
large number of their townsmen, was formed and during Monday 
they searched the snow in the road over which the men would be 
most likely to travel on their way home ; but night came, and they 
had not been found. The search was renewed on the following morn-, 
ing, and this time it was successful, the bodies being found in the 
fields at some distance from the road and apart, as if the men ha4! 
become separated and wandered from each other. The funeral t 
one of them took place on Thureday and of the other on the Friday 
following. Mr. Hooper left a wife and a large number of chlldrenj, 
and Mr. Tidder, who was considerably younger than Mr. Hooper,,; 
left parents and a wife and child. The bereaved were very deeply 
affected by the sad and sudden deaths. 

A sadder case than the foregoing occurred on the same evenin 
at Litchfield, Conn. The storm was very severe there, the snow came 
in great quantities, and the wind blew a gale. A man by the name 
of Elisha Birge lived in a house which was so old and decayed that 
his wife Mary, who was naturally timid, thought it could not with- 
stand the tempest. She was afraid to remain in it through the night, 
and on this Saturday evening, in spite of her husband's persuasions,, 
started out to go to a neighbor's to spend the night. She soon lost 
her way in the blinding storm and wandered about in the cold and 
whiding snow, floundering in the great drifts until she knew not where 
she was. She had not been gone long when her husband repented 
letting her go off on her hazardous journey alone and started afteiT 
her. He soon overtook her, and together they tried to find the house 
she sought. But after wandering about for some time in their fruit- 
less search, she sat down by the trunk of an ancient tree to rest.j 
Mr. Birge suggested that they had mistaken the road and urged her 
to return. She made no reply, and looking at her he discovered that. 
she had fallen asleep, cold and exhaustion having taken away he) 
senses. He tried to arouse her from her stupor, but it was too late, 
and she expired in his arms. 

The storm was very severe along the coast. In Long Island sound. 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW 

"many vessels went ashore, and some were entirely lost. All the 
vessels at Slonington, Conn., were driven ashore, except a small 
schooner which was forced out to sea and never heard from. At 
Newport, R, I., ten or twelve ships, brigs and other vessels of the 
laiger build were driven from the wharves and forced on shore at 
Brenton'a Neck, and a considerable number of small craft were 
dashed to pieces. A small schooner bound from Freetown to Newport 
fonodered, and several people that were on board were drowned. 
Two sloops went ashore at Nantasket beach, and a small schooner 
s cast away at or near Cape Ann, its crew perishing. 

ip, engaged in coasting between Damariscotta and Boston, 
^pt. John Askins, master, was driven on Lovell's island in Boston 
There were thirteen' persons on board, twelve men and one 
1, all of whom perished. Their bodies were found, and on the 
rhursday following brought up to town. Besides the captain, the per- 
Bsons lost were John Adams (or Adamson) of Medfield, two young 
men by the name of Cowell, a Mr. Groat of Sherburne, Samuel Ham 
of Durham, N, H., Miss Sylvia Knapp of Mansfield, Henry Read of 
Boothbay, Joseph Robeshaw of Wrentham, two men by the name of 
Rockwood, Capt. Oliver Rouse and a sailor belonging in Nova Sco- 
tia, whose name is unknown. All the bodies were soon found except 
those of Captain Rouse and John Adams, which were not discovered 
until the second day of January, more than three weeks after the dis- 
aster, when they were dug out of the snow and brought up to the 
town. Adams was buried the same day, under the direction of the 
coroner. Captain Rouse had been an officer in the American army 
in the revolution, and his body was conveyed to the house of his 
friend John McLane, on Newbury street, whence the interment took 
place on the evening of Sunday, the next day. The next year the 
Massachusetts Humane Society erected on this island a small house 
for the relief of shipwrecked mariners. It stood on the northwest 
side of the island, about sixty rods from the shore. 

On Cape Cod, a schooner, belonging to Boston, Captain Godfrey, 
master, while on a trip from the eastward, was driven ashore, and all 
on board perished. On Sunday morning, the schooner Nancy of Sa- 
lem, Mass., Captain Fairfield, master, bound from Port-au-Prince to 

port saliJ tliHt there weiB llltceii, and that thirteen of tbem were lost, but 



130 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

practicable they would return in safety. But before tlie storm hadi 
cleared, news cnme tliat the men had been seen in the evening oA 
their way to Marblehead. Then their families knew that there was but 
little chance of their being alive, for if they had reached Marblehead 
they would have come home. A searching party, consisting of a 
large number of their townsmen, was formed and during Monday 
they searched the snow in the road over which the men would be 
most likely to travel on their way home ; but night came, and they 
had not been found. The search was renewed on the following morn- 
ing, and this time it was successful, the bodies being found in the 
fields at some distance from the road and apart, as if the men had 
become separated and wandered from each other. The funeral of 
one of them took place on Thursday and of the other on the Friday 
following, Mr. Hooper left a wife and a large number of children,, 
and Mr, Tidder, who was considerably younger than Mr. Hoopei^ 
left parents and a wife and child. The bereaved were very deeply 
affected by the sad and sudden deaths. 

A sadder case than the foregoing occurred on the same evening; 
at Litchfield, Conn. The storm was very severe there, the snow canw 
in great quantities, and the wind blew a gale, A man by the name 
of Eiisha Birge lived in a house which was so old and decayed that 
his wife Mary, who was naturally timid, thought it could not with- 
stand the tempest. She was afraid to remain in it through the night,, 
and on this Saturday evening, in spite of her husband's persuasions,! 
started out to go to a neighbor's to spend the night. She soon ! 
her way in the blinding storm and wandered about in the cold and 
whirling snow, floundering in the great drifts until she knew not where 
she was. She had not been gone long when her husband repented 
letting her go off on her hazardous journey alone and started aftei 
her. He soon overtook her, and together they tried to find the house, 
she sought. But after wandering about for some time in their fruit- 
less search, she sat down by the trunk of an ancient tree to rest., 
Mr. Birge suggested that they had mistaken the road and urged her 
to return. She made no reply, and looking at her he discovered that, 
she had fallen asleep, cold and exhaustion having taken away her. 
He tried to arouse lier from her stupor, but it was too late^ 
and she expired in his arms. 
The storm was very severe along the coast. In Long Island sound, 



many vessels went ashore, and some were entirely lost. All the 
vessels at Stoninglon, Conn., were driven ashore, except a small 
schooner whicli was forced out to sea and never heard from. At 
Newport, R. I., ten or twelve ships, brigs and other vessels of the 
laiger build were driven from the wharves and forced on shore at 
Erenton's Neck, and a considerable number of small cratt were 
dasbed to pieces, A small schooner hound from Freetown to Newport 
foundered, and several people that were on board were drowned. 
Two sIcMjps went ashore at Nantasket beach, and a SQiali schooner 
was cast away at or near Cape Ann, its crew perishing. 

A sloop, engaged in coasting between Daraariscotta and Boston, 
Capt. John Askins, master, was driven on Lovell's island in Boston 
harbor. There were thirteen' persons on board, twelve men ,ind one 
woman, all of whom perished. Their bodies were found, and on the 
Thursday following brought up to town. Besides the captain, the per- 
sons lost were John Adams (or Adamson) of Medfield, two young 
men by the name of Cowell, a Mr. Grout of Sherburne, Samuel Hum 
of Durham, N. H., Miss Sylvia Kiiapp of Mansfield, Henry Read of 
Boothbay, Joseph Robeshaw of Wrentham, two men by the name of 
Roclcwood, Capt. Oliver Rouse and a sailor belonging in Nova Sco- 
tia, whose name is unknown. All the bodies were soon found except 
those of Captain Rouse and John Adams, which were not discovered 
until the second day of January, more than three weeks after the dis- 
aster, when they were dug out of the snow and brought up to the 
town. Adams was buried the same day, under the direction of the 
coroner. Captain Rouse had been an officer in the American army 
in the revolution, and his body was conveyed to the house of his 
friend John McLane, on Newbury street, whence the interment took 
place on the evening of Sunday, the next day. The next year the 
Massachusetts Humane Society erected on this island a small house 
for the relief of shipwrecked mariners. It stood on the northwest 
side of the island, about sixty rods from the shore. 

On Cape Cod, a schooner, belonging to Boston, Captain Godfrey, 
master, while on a trip from the eastward, was driven ashore, and all 

P board perished. On Sunday morning, the schooner Nancy of Sa- 
lt Mass., Captain Fairfield, master, bound from Port-au-Prince to 
A. later report aaid ttinC there were flftei 



ISS HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW 



by the b 



id and tide. This brought tliem to their sense of self-pres- 
ervation. Mr, Pulsifer immediately threw himself upon the ice and 
advised his companion to do the same. Mr, Elwell was so stupefied 
with the cold that it seemed impossible for him to ever reach the land ; 
but after considerable endeavor he managed to get on a floating cake 
and reached the shore in safety. Mr. Pulsifer succeeded in getting 
near enough to the shore to touch the bottom with his feet ; but his 
legs were so benumbed by the cold that he could not step. For a 
while it seemed that he must die though only a rod from the shore ; 
but before it was too late he conceived the idea of moving his legs 
ahead one at a time by his hands, as if they had been sticks. By this 
means he reached the land safely. Now they felt themselves saved, 
and the thought of their preservation invigorated their faculties. 
They ran a few rods to get warui and recover the full use of their 
limbs. But where were they? They had not given a thought to the 
location of the land where they were. The fact that it wa,s the solid 
earth was enough to satisfy them for ihe first few moments they were 
upon it. Probably they had but a faint conception of the distance 
and direction they had been driven while on the stacks of hay. On 
looking about they found that they were on an uninhabited island, 
and though the mainland was not far away it was impossible to reach 
it. They must either freeze or siarve to death if they remained where 
they were. They found a stack of dry hay and into that they crept 
for warmth. At length, they came out and went upon the highest 
part of the island and with what strength of voice they had they 
shouted for help, that being the only thing they could dd. Afier a 
while a man was seen on the mainland by Mr. Pulsifer, and feeling 
that by him was a way of escape from their dangerous situation they 
made a vigorous demonstration ; but in vain, the man unheeding 
passed out of sight. They now became utterly discouraged, and 
death seemed to be their inevitable lot. They had had nothing 
to eat for about two days, and the pangs of hunger intensified their 
hopelessness. Their hopes again revived, however, when three- 
quarters of an hour later Maj. Charles Smith of Ipswich, with his 
two sons, came within sight of the island in search of some stray 
sheep. 0.ie of the men stood upon the stack of hay, waved his hat. 
and hallooed for assistance. One of Major Smith's sons saw him 
and the father, who knew of a causeway leading to the island which 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. I2g 

■was then covered with water about a. yard deep, waded through it to 
the place where the men were. They were assisted to Major Smith's 
house, which was some little distance away, and he provided them 
with everything necessary to their comfort. On Thursday they re- 
L turned to their homes, thankful that their lives which had several times 
seemed lost were preserved. 

On the night of Friday of the same week another terrible snow 
storm with a furious northeast wind began. It continued through the 
next day. increasing as night came on, and abated Sunday morning. 
The snow was already very deep, and this storm so increased its depth 
that it was estimated at this time there was more snow on the ground 
than there was in the winter of the great snow, seventy years before. 
Travelling was extremely difficult and in many places it was totally 
stopped. In Boston, on the day following that on which the storm 
had cleared off, a number of people were employed in " levelling " 
the snow in the streets, and . the next day the Massachusetts Gazette 
of the time said, " It is hoped they and many others will turn out 
this day for the same laudable and necessary purpose." Up to this 
period the roads and streets were not cleared of snow, except in a 
few unimportaut instances, and they remained in the condition in 
which the storm left them, whether the snow came on a level or in 
drifts. And it would seem that even in Boston it was unusual for the 
people to remove, level or path the snow. The roads were com- 
pletely filled from wall to wall throughout New England. The people 
could not get to the churches on Sunday on account of the great 
drifts, and so of course no religious services were held. 

This was one of the most difficult storms to withstand that was ever 
experienced. Several persons who were out in it became lost and 
were smothered to death in the snow, or, becoming exhausted, sank 
down and perished with the cold. A man living near Portland, Me., 
left that place for his home and was never again heard from, it being 
supposed that he died on the way. 

On Saturday evening, Thomas Hooper and Valentine Tidder, jr., 
of Marblehead, Mass., who had been in Salem during the afternoon, 
started in the storm on the retLim home about dark. They did not 
come, and it was supposed by their families and friends that they had 
forborne risking their lives in the cold and snow, remaining at Salem 
over night and that when the storm abated and travelling became 




130 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. ^^^H 

practicable they would return in safety. But before the storm had 
cleared, news came that the raen had been seen in the evening on 
their way to Marbleliead. Then their famihes knew that there was but 
little chance of their being alive, for if they had reached Marblehead 
they would have come home. A searching party, consisting of a 
large number of their townsmen, was formed and during Monday 
tliey searched the snow in the road over which the men would be 
most likely to travel on their way home ; but night came, and they 
had not been found. The search was renewed on the following morn- 
ing, and this time it was successful, the bodies being found in the 
fields at some d fmh ddp fhe men had 

become separal d d i i f 11 Th funeral of 

one of them to k pi Th d y d f h h the Friday 

following. Mr. Hplf f dig m of children, 

and Mr. Tidder 1 as d b y Ir. Hooper, 

left parents and f d 1 Id Th b d very deeply 

affected by the sad 1 dd d h 

A sadder cas h h f j, g rr d h me ewening 

at Litchfield, Co Th ry h snow came 

in great quantities, and the wind blew a gale. A man by the name 
of Elisha Birge lived in a house which was so old and decayed that 
his wife Mary, who was naturally timid, thought it could not with- 
stand the tempest. She was afraid to remain m it through the night, 
and on this Saturday evening, in spite of her husbind's persuasions, 
started out to go to a neighbor's to spend the night She soon lost 
her way in the blinding storm and wandered about in the cold and 
whirling snow, floundering in the great drifts until she knew not where 
she was. She had not been gone long when her husbind repented 
letting her go off on her hazardous journey alone and started after 
her. He soon overtook her, and together they tried to find the house 
she sought. But after wandering about for some time in their fruit- 
less search, she sat down by the trunk of an ancient tree to rest. 
Mr. Birge suggested that they had mistaken the road and urged her 
to return. She made no reply, and looking at her he discovered that 
she had fallen asleep, cold and exhaustion having taken away her 
senses. He tried to arouse her from her stupor, but it was too late, 
and she expired in his arms. 

The storm was very severe along the coast. In Long Island sound, 




sound, ■ 



I Tw 

^Vhar 
^P Thi 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 131 

many vessels went ashore, and some were entirely lost. All the 
vessels at Stonington, Conn., were driven ashore, except a small 
schooner whicli was forced out to sea and never heard from. At 
Newport, R. I., ten or twelve ships, brigs and other vessels of the 
larger build were driven from the wharves and forced on shore at 
Brenton's Neck, and a considerable number of small crafl were 
dashed to pieces. A small schooner bound from Freetown to Newport 
foundered, and several people that were on board were drowned. 
Two sloops went ashore at Nanlasket beach, and a small schooner 
was cast away at or near Cape Ann, its crew perishing, 

A sloop, engaged in coasting between Damariscotta and Boston, 
ipt. John Askins, master, was driven on Lovell's island in Boston 
harbor. There were thirteen' persons on board, twelve men and one 
woman, all of whom perished. Their bodies were found, and on the 
Thursday following brought up to town. Besides the captain, the per- 
sons lost were John Adams (or Adamson) of Medfield, two young 
men by the name of Cowell, a Mr. Grout of Sherburne, Samuel Ham 
of Durham, N. H., Miss Sylvia Ktiapp of Mansfield, Henry Read of 
Boothbay, Joseph Robeshaw of Wrentham, two men by the name of 
Rockwood, Capt. Oliver Rouse and a sailor belonging in Nova Sco- 
tia, whose name is unknown. All the bodies were soon found except 
those of Captain Rouse and John Adams, which were not discovered 
until the second day of January, more than three weeks after the dis- 
aster, when they were dug out of ihe snow and brought up to the 
town. Adams was buried the same day, under the direction of the 
coroner. Captain Rouse had been an officer in the American army 
in the revolution, and his body was conveyed to the house of his 
friend John McLane, on Newbury street, whence the interment took 
place on the evening of Sunday, the next day. The next year the 
Massachusetts Humane Society erected on this island a small house 
for the relief of shipwrecked mariners. It stood on the northwest 
side of the island, about sixty rods from the shore. 
On Cape Cod, a schooner, belonging to Boston, Captain Godfrey, 
:, while on a trip from the eastward, was driven ashore, and all 
board perished. On Sund&y morning, the schooner Nancy of Sa- 
Mass., Captain Fairfield, master, bound fi-om Port-au-Prince to 




iga 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 



her home port, was also cast ashore there, about three miles from 
Provincelown. The storm was so terrific that the waves washed over 
the deck and filleil the cabin and bold, and the men were obliged to 
leave the wreck at ten o'clock in the evening. In the deep snow 
they travelled all night in search of shelter, but in vain. Eastick 
Cook of Salem perished in the search with the cold, and the Umbs of 
the rest were much frozen. In the morning the other men returned 
to the place of the wreck, and found several persons there, they hav- 
ing observed the vessel and come down to it to render what assist- 
ance they could to the needy mariners, if they were still alive. They 
treated them very humanely and furnished them with clothes from 
their own backs, affording them every assistance in their power. The 
vessel was wholly lost, but tiie cargo was saved. 

A coasting sloop, Capt. Samuel Robbins, master, bound to Ply- 
mouth, sailed from Long wharf, Boston harbor, between one and two 
o'clock on Saturday morning, it being deemed that the impending 
storm would not be very severe. There were several passengers, who 
with the crew made the number on board sixteen, among whom was 
Rev. Mr. Robbins of Plymouth. When they started the wind was 
blowing, from the northeast, but after they had sailed about six miles 
beyond the harbor ligiit it veered to the east- northeast, the heavens 
suddenly grew dark, and a squall of snow set in. They concluded 
to return to the harbor, and endeavored to do so, but the compass be- 
ing out of order they could not find the harbor light again in the 
blinding snow. After sailing in what they supposed to be the right 
direction for about half an hour it was thought to be very hazardous 
to proceed further toward land, and the sloop was again headed in 
the opposite direction. The storm increased until the wind blew 
with great violence, splitting the mainsail, and with extreme difficulty 
they kept off the shore until morning. They hoped that daylight 

>uld bring some one to their rescue, but such a hope had no frui- 
tion. They could not discover land. It seemed that the only prob- 
able means of saving any of their lives was to run the vessel ashore, 
and at about eight o'clock in the morning it was solemnly agreed to do 
so, though they knew not where they_were. The reader can, per- 
haps, imagine the thoughts that now came into their minds. There 
was but slight hope of being saved, and death seemed to be cer- 
As one of them afterward said, " Heaven appeared for us I " 




HISTORIC STORTiS OF NEW ENGLAND. IJ3 

The order was given to run ashorCf and a solemn and awful interval 
of ten minutes elapsed before the vessel struck. Each one gave liim- 
self up for lost. They had reached the border line of time and must 
immediately appear before their Walter. They saw the terrible 
breakers on shore, and the faint-hearted among them grew pale and 
weak as they gazed at them, — " dread harbingers of their approach- 
ing destiny." A shudder ran through their already chilled bodies and 
hearts when the helmsman (though mistaken) cried out, "Nothing 
but rocks I The Lord have mercy onus, not a single life to be saved." 
ninute later the sloop struck upon a sand-bar and was carried over 
I point within two hundred feet of the shore. When the vessel 
I stopped, her boom suddenly broke and fell upon the deck among the 
' people, but fortunately only one person was injured, and that one but 
slightly. Thinking that the sloop would beat to pieces in a very short 
1 time, the boat belonging to it was immediately gotten out and by 
I means of a long warp, one end fastened to the boat and the other to 
ssel, the people reached the boat in safety. By making three 
Itrips, every person safely reached the shore. The success of the un- 
' dertaking, considering its dangerous nature, the surf being heavy and 
the undertow exceedingly powerful, was almost wonderful. They 
found themselves on the beach at the northern end of the Gurnet pe- 
ninsula, several miles from any human settlement. Though wet and 
I cold, they travelled about to keep from freezing, being perfectly igno- 
^ rant of the locality. The storm became more severe, and the cold 
seemed to be driven through their very vitals by the piercing wind. Af- 
ter all but two of thera had been travelling about a mile in a north- 
erly direction, as they thought, at about eleven o'clock in the forenoon 
they found a small hut that had been erected by some gunners as a 
temporary residence. In it they discovered a loaded gun, by means 
I of which they made a fire ; and but for this some of them at least must 
have perished. The others of the shipwrecked companyupon land- 
ing took an opposite course in quest of shelter, and at length arrived 
at the Gurnet lighthouse. One of tlie assistants there was despatched 
to seek the other members of the company. He came to the hut, 
found them and told them where tliey were, offering to conduct them 
I to the house. All but five, who spent the succeeding night in the 
I liui, seeking rest before travelling so far, set out with him. They 




134 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

travelled in the whole a distance of nearly seven miles, in the violent 
snow storm, for five hours on the desolate beach, suffering from inex- 
pressible fatigue and being wet, cold and hungry, some of them 
having eaten nothing for more than twenty hours. They all, finally, 
arrived at the friendly house of Mr. Burgiss on the Gurnet, where they 
received every attention and kindness that compassion and generous 
hospitality could afford, until means were obtained for their safe re- 
turn home. 




The Cyclone of August, lySy. 

THEdifferencebetweenacycloneanda tornado is that tlie former is 
a wind storm revolving about a centre of low barometer and abso- 
lute calm, the greatest force of the wind being at the outer edge 
of the circle ; and a tornado is a local disturbance without regularity of 
movemeot. Cyclones blow generally in circles of from one hundred 
to seven hundred miles in diameter, while tornadoes are generally 
limited to tracks rarely more than a few hundred feet in length. The 
best specimen of a cyclone that we have discovered in the history of 
storms va this section of the world is that whith occurred on Wednes- 
day, August 15, 1 787. The wind blew in a circle of about two hun- 
dred and fifty miles in diameter, which probably had its centre at or 
near Lake George, in New York. It first came near enough to the 
earth to do damage in the parish of New Britain, Conn., tlien pro- 
ceeded in a northeasterly direction through the southern part of the 
parish of Newington, then over Wethersfield, East Windsor, Glaston- 
bury, Bolton, Coventry, Thompson (which was then a parish of Kill- 
ingly), Conn., then over Gloucester, R. I., continuing its course over 
Mendon, Framingham, Southborough, Marlborough and Sudbury, 
Jklass., into New Hampshire, touching at Rochester, where it was last 
heard from. 

If the reader will eKamine the map of New England he will notice 
that the line of the cyclone was a curve, and not a straight course, like 
that in which tornadoes blow. A cloud carried along by the wind was 
observed about noon on that day in the northwest, the direction of 
Lake George. Between one and two o'clock it had arrived at the 
west of the point where it began to do its destructive work in New 
England ; and this seems to be additional evidence that this was a 
cyclone. 

During the day there had been at New Britain, Conn., quite a 
('35) 




136 HISTORIC STORUS OF MEW ENGLAND. ^^^| 

strong breeze from the south, and about noon a cloud somewhat similaz 
to tiiose accompanying violent thunder sliowers, unusually black, 
ranged along the horizon from tlie north to the west, reaching about one- 
third up to the zenith, and its upper edge being indented and forming 
irregular columns, lilte pyramids. It was different from the common 
tliunder cloud, being one continuous sheet of vapor and not a collec- 
tion of small clouds. This cioud was seen approaching the south be- 
tween one and two o'clock. People on high hills had an excellent 
view of it as it came toward the place that was soon to be the scene 
of its desolation. They saw a column of black cloud, about thirty 
rods in diameter, reaching from the earth to the cloud above. It was so 
dense that the eye could not penetrate it, and it appeared luminous, 
peals of thunder coming from it, which grew louder as it advanced. 
It whirled along with great force and rapidity, and was productive of 
an awful roar, that caused feelings of terror to arise in all hearts. The 
cloud sped along in a majestic manner, as though sliding on an un- 
seen plane, while from it the black column reached down its horrible 
arm and touched the earth. When it came quite near, the column 
instantly divided horizontally, at a short distance from the earth, as 
though a strong wind had dashed it asunder, the upper part of it ap- 
pearing to rise, and the lower to spread itself to the extent of sixty or 
eighty rods. In a moment it would apparently burit from the ground 
like the thickest smoke, spread the above-named distance on its sur- 
face, then instantly whitl, contracting itself to the size of the column 
described, and lifting its head to the cloud, being charged with sec- 
tions of fences, huge limbs of trees, boards, bricks, timbers, shingles, 
hay and similar articles, which were continually crashing against each 
other in the air, or falling to the ground. At intervals of differenr 
lengths, the column performed this movement. But seeming to dis- 
dain to stoop toward the earth the cloud itself sailed grandly along on 
its errand of desolation and death. 

The cyclone passed over New England at about three o'clock in the 
afternoon. Its width varied from twenty to one hundred yards, being 
most violent at the narrower places. In some portions of its course the 
clouds appeared luminous, in others not, and sometimes thunder 
rolled in its midst. In Connecticut only a few large drops of water 
fell, but in Massachusetts rain descended in such quantities that large 
i of low land were inundated, causing great damage. It was 



■ mSTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. I37 

■ ■probably not true rain but water that had been taken up bodily from 
I the streams and ponds over which the cyclone had passed. 

I 'I'he «ind destroyed all before it, houses, barns and other build- 
1 lings being utterly shattered, fields of Indian corn and flax blown away, 

■ and all varieties of vegetables swept even with the ground. A great 
fcinany stacks of hay were scattered over the country for miles, 
W much of it being carried into the woods and left on the tops of trees. 
I Apple orchards, whose trees were bending under a great quantity of 
I ripening fruit, and peach and pear trees were torn out by the roots 
I or twisted off near the ground, some of the largest apple trees being 
I carried many rods. Forest, timber and shade trees were also torn up 
I by the roots, or twisted off at the trunks, and carried long distances 
I with cartloails of earth and rocks clinging to some of them, being 
I dropped in field, meadow or street. Whole groves of fine young 
I trees were utterly destroyed. The toughest saplings and closest pas- 
Iture white oaks were twisted off and woven together, their smaller 
I boughs looking as if they had been struck upon a rock many times. 
h Fences and stone-walls were levelled in all parts of the cyclone's 
I track, and many articles, such as stones and logs, weighing several 
I hundred pounds were lifted into the air, and carried to other places. 
I In some localities the column acted like a plow, tearing the sward off 

the ground to the depth of from four to six inches, as it did at South- 
borough, Mass., in the pasture of Lieutenant Fay. Strips of the 
award were torn off several yards in length and from two to four feet 
in breadth. There were no trees, bushes nor brakes growing upon 
the sod upon which the wind could exert its strength in (he ordinary 
manner, nor were any trees blown across the place that could plow the 
ground. The evidence clearly shows that the wind itself tore the turf 
from the underlying strata of gravel. Several men were standing in 
the vicinity of the pasture when the wind passed, and noticed that a 
heavy undulating sound, like thunder at a great distance, issued from 
the column. 

By this cyclone, many a hard-working farmer was rendered home- 
less, and the crop on which he depended for the support of his fam- 
ily during a long winter and until another harvest season should come 
vanished in a moment. 

At New Britain, Conn., where the cyclone first struck, the only 
injury it did was to unroof a bam belonging to Elnathan Smith. 




I 



138 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

In Wethersfield, probably more damage was done than in any other 
place. After upsetting a vessel in the river, the cyclone swept away 
the residence of Wait Robbins' in the southern part of the town, 
some of the timbers being carried three miles. When the cloud ap- 
proached, it was watched by the family, but none of them had a. 
thought that it would prove harmful to them until it had come quite 
near, and they had seen it take up a horse and toss it to some distance. 
Then they attempted to escape from the buildings, running into the 
street. In the house were Mrs. Robbins, four children, an infant five 
months' old, and an aged negro woman, who was a servant in the fam- 
ily. Mr. Robbins' farm hand was in the bam near the house. Mrs. 
Robbins ran with her babe in her arms, followed by two little boys 
and the laborer. When about ten rods from the house, the latter 
passed the rest and had gone but a few paces beyond them when the 
wind overtook them. The laborer was thrown over a fence into a gar- 
den, and escaped with but little injury. Near the place where the 
man had passed Mrs. Robbins and the children, the two boys were 
found amidst the rubbish and timbers of the demolished buildings, 
they having run in the direction of the wind. The oldest boy, who 
was about ten years of age, was lifeless, and the other, aged about 
three years, was so badly wounded that for a while it was feared he 
would die. Mrs. Robbins was killed, being hurled half way back to 
where the house had stood. She had clung to her babe, however, 
through all her terrible experience, and only when death deprived 
her of her senses did she release her hold. The child was found 
lying about three rods from her mother, alive, but somewhat injured. 
The negro woman, with the other two children, fled in a different 
direction, and they were saved, though not without receiving some 
wounds. The negress was taken up by the wind, and much more 
bruised than the children. A part of the house remained standing, but 
so much shattered that it could not be repaired. Two silk dresses 
were taken from a drawer in an upper room of the house, carried over 
the Connecticut river, and dropped at the door of Mrs. Robbins' 
brother in Glastonbury, three miles away. Tlie barn was large, and 
stored with grain, hay and flax, all of which were distributed over the 
country, together with the orchard of large trees that stood near the 
bam, every tree in it being torn up by the roots, or twisted off near 

veB Mr. Bobbias' cbrisUnn nama ail Itulpb. 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. I39 

the ground. Mr. Robbins' cider-mill, a building used for pressing 
hay, and a corn-barn were also levelled with the ground. In the 
corn-barn were three ox plows, two of which were not found, but the 
share of the third was carried a distance of forty rods. On the morn- 
ing of this day, Mr. Robbins had set out on a journey to Dartmouth 
to make arrangements for his eldest son to enter a school there ; but 
that night a messenger arrived and informed him of the terrible news 
concerning the fate of his family. 

In the same town, the house of a Mr. Rockwell was unroofed, and 
his small barn was demolished. Thehavocamong the trees in this sec- 
tion of the town was very great. One large apple tree was torn up 
and carried almost half a mile. A swamp white oak, that was more 
than two feet in diameter, was also torn up and carried a distance of 
eight or ten rods, together with two or three tons' weight of earth 
and rocks that clung to the roots. Another large oak was twisted off 
and carried more tharf twenty rods without striking the ground, bound- 
ing on as much farther, the trunk of the tree plowing up the earth 
in its course. A lad on horseback was hurled from the horse, receiv- 
ing no material injury, but the animal had his legs broken. Several 
cattle were also injured, some of them being killed. It was exceedingly 
fortunate for the town that the path of the cyclone was taken where 
it would do the least injury. If it had gone half a mile either to the 
right or left it would probably have been fatal to a large number of 
people, and a mile and a half fartliec in either direction would have 
swept the centre of the town on the north, or the centre of the par- 
ish on the south, and probably hundreds would have been kilted or 
wounded. 

At East Windsor, the cyclone came within about half a mile of the 
church of the First society on its eastern side, and in its path twisted 
from their mots several trees two and a half feet in diameter. John 
Stoughton's house there was much damaged, the greater part of the 
roof being taken off and carried a considerable distance. Several 
articles of household furniture were taken out of the chamber and car- 
ried away. A barn belonging to Capt. Noah Barber shared the same 
late, a large pirt of the roof being carried forty rods. 

A bam belongmg to \V ilham Moseley was destroyed in Glastonbury, 
and also m the same town a barn and a large brick house were un- 
roofed, another barn w is entirely demolished, and an old house was 



140 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. ^^^^H 

nearly destroyed. These buildings were the properly of Theodore J 
Gale.' 

The wind unroofed a bam in Eastbury, belonging to a Mr. Andrus, 
and also did much damage in Bolton and Coventry. 

At Gloucester, R. I., Hie cyclone was more terrible in its effects 
than anything of the kind that had ever been known there. Several 
houses had their roofs taken off, and were otherwise much damaged. A 
large new bam, full of hay, was levelled with the ground, and an old 
house and another barn were torn to pieces. lo the house were the 
family, who escaped injury by fleeing to the cellar. A corn-crib was 
taken up, and carried about four rods ; and a woman was carried, 
some distance, but escaped with a few bruises. A chimney, that had 
been lately built to a new house, was twisted off about eight feet from 
the top and turned around two inches. 

In Southborough, Mass., a number of buildings were attacked with 
great violence, and rocks weighing several pounds were carried a 
number of yards. 

At or near Framingham, a house was lifted from its underpinning, 
whirled to some distance, and dashed to pieces. In it were two 
women, who could not escape, and they were very dangerously in- 
jured. Some of their household furniture, such as beds and bedding, 
etc., had not been found two weeks after the cyclone; a pewter 
plate was blown half a mile. A yoke of oxen hitched to a cart which 
was loaded with hay, with a boy on top of it, the team and load 
weighing about two tons, were lifted from the ground, and carried six 
rods, the hay being scattered broadcast over the country. A grey 
oak, sound and green, whose trunk was more than eighteen inches 
in diameter, was broken off near the surface of the ground and tossed 
into the air, being moved along in a curved line. For a hundred rods 
it rose and fell, changing its course, as a writer of that lime said, like 
a sporting eagle. Sometimes it appeared to be ten rods or more 
from the ground. At length it pitched from the cioud column lothe 
earth about twenty rods to .one side of the path of the wind, being 
left about a quarter of a mile fi-om its stump. 

In Marlborough, a barn was hurled from its foundations, and the 
timbers thrown various ways, much of its contents being carried a 
great distance, and lost. Some of the sliingles in which the nails re- 
■e Hale, " ons account says. 



HISTORIC STORSIS OF NEW ENGLAND. 14I 

mained were found fixed on the trunks of trees, as if the nails had 
been driven into ihe trees with a hammer. The roof of one dwelling 
house was torn off, and mucii of the heavier portions of the debris 
blown many rods, pieces of boards, shingles, etc., being found three- 
fourths of a mile away. Several other buildings in the town were 
also much damaged. 

At Rochester, N. H., the cyclone lifted a house in which were 
eight persons, and carried both house and content? a considerable 
distance, when the building was demolished, the pieces being found 
the next day three miles from the spot where the house had stood. 
Two of the people in the house were bruised, but the others escaped 
uninjured. A barn was also carried off, and had not been found sev- 
eral days after the cyclone occurred. 

Tornadoes also occurred in connection with the cyclone in several 
towns in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. In Oakham, Mass., 
the house of James Hasset, situated in the southern portion of the 
town, had its roof taken off, and its main body much shattered, Mr. 
Hasset, his wife and two children were all considerably bruised and 
otherwise wounded by the whirling timbers and furniture. His barn, 
measuring thirty by forty feet, though nearly full of hay and grain, 
was entirely destroyed, not a timber being left whole. His corn-house 
was also torn to pieces. A large iron bar, about six feet long, and 
two other bars about four feet in lengtii, were carried nearly ten rods, 
and pieces of boards, shingles and timbers of all sizes were scattered 
for nearly two miles in an easterly direction. 

At Rutland, the wind blew down a great number of large and 
deep-rooted white oak trees, clearing a wide path through the lot, 
twisted the sturdiest of the trees from their roots, and scattered 
them in every direction. It also destroyed a considerable part of a 
field of com. Seemingly gathering new fury, it continued down the 
side of a hill, struck a comer of Cajitain Bent's house, and lifted his 
barn into the air, knocking it to pieces, and throwing several large 
timbers a considerable distance. In the barn were four or five tons 
of hay, which was wholly lost. A blacksmith shop and part of a 
shed were also entirely carried away, together with nearly two hun- 
dred apple trees, and much of the walls and fences wa* demolished. 

.At Northborough, a litde after three o'clock on the afternoon of 

e cyclone, several clouds running very fast and low were seen to 



^^^^e cyclone, s 



142 



3 OF NEW ENGLAND. 



meet over the town, and a black cloud resembling smoke or soot in- 
stantly arose from the point of meeting. The two clouds ascended 
side by side, as smoke rises when forced upward from a furnace 
chimney, with great rapidity. Their rise was watched by many peo- 
ple, who became very much interested in the outcome of the seem- 
ing contest, for the clouds appeared as though racing, each strugghng 
with all its might to reach the zenith first. From all directions a 
variety of clouds flew to those that were ascending, which formed the 
common centre of attraction, and were immediately enwrapped by 
them. All the clouds were greatly agitated, and appeared, as a news- 
paper correspondent of that lime said, "to be rallying to a war of the 
elements." Tlie clouds from the east at length gave way, and the tor- 
nado dashed through the region. It was first feh at the eastern part 
of the town, but its violence very much increased as it approached the 
line between that town and Marlborough and Southborough, and then 
went through Framingham. Its path of devastation in Northborough 
was from thirty to forty rods wide, though much less in some places. In 
Eoylslon and Harvard, several houses and barns were unroofed, and 
several barns demolished. Fences, trees and fields of com and 
grain were destroyed here as well as in the main path of tlie cyclone. 
At Dunbarton and Concord, N, H., tornadoes also appeared on 
the same afternoon. The owner of a new house in the former town, 
which as yet had no glass in the windows, was in it when the wind 
approached. All the family but himself went into the cellar while he 
attempted to put a board up at one of the windows to keep the wind 
out, but he was blown with the board across the room, and into an- 
other without material injury. The house and also his new barn were 
considerably damaged. In CoDCord, the tornado destroyed several 
houses, bams, fields of corn, orchards, etc. A cider-mill that stood 
at some distance from the Merrimac river was taken up and set adrift 
in the water. The stream was greatly agitated, and a ferry-boat pass- 
ing at the time was taken up, and carried a considerable distance, be- 
ing dropped on the water E^ain. 






tlio 

I win 



The Mekorof i^Sy. 

THERE are recorded several instances of meteors having been 
observed in New England very near the earth, and that wiiich 
was seen on Thursday, August 30, 1787, was one of the most 
interesling that we have learned of. It parsed over the country at 
about twenty minutes after four o'clock in the afternoon. It was first 
noticed at Stow, Mass., and it then proceeded over Exeter and Ports- 
mouth, N. H., York, Pordand and New Gloucester, Maine, being 
said to have been heard as far east as Frenchman's bay. 

The meteor appeared to be a ball of bright and glowing fire, ap- 
parently about six inches in diameter, ant! it proceeded with great ve- 
locity through the heavens in a northeasterly direction. It left behind 
a train of fire about twenty degrees in length, terminating in a point 
which appeared near the ball like a flame, and gradually lessened in 
brightness until it apparently turned to smoke. Behind it was left a 
cloud of smoke which settled down in the northeast, and was visible 
until after sunset. At New Gloucester, Maine, it seemed to be as 
large as a nine- pound cannon ball. 

The day before had been cloudy and wet, and it had rained quite 
hard on the morning of the thirtielh, the wind being southeast. By 
nine o'clock the wind became more easterly and the rain abated, 
though it continued wet and misty all through the day. At night the 
wind came round to the northwest, and dispersed the fog. A fresh 
■eeze was blowing all day, and the clouds flew high till toward night, 

iky was nearly clear. 
At Stow, about eight or ten minutes after the meteor disappeared, 
resembling heavy, distant thunder was heard, apparently much 
above the clouds. Several persons that heard it said that it was like 
the firing of field artillery two or three miles distant. The explo- 
perfectly distinct, but without intermission, and continued 
C'43) 




I 



144 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

for a minute, being uniform from beginning to end. T!ie noise vpaa 
preceded by a flash, though the spectators could discover no cloud 
from wiiich thunder or lightning would issue, nor did the sound at all 
resemble thunder except in intensity. At Exeter, it shook a house 
slightly, but there was no unnatural motion of the earth. At Ports- 
mouth, several persons who were in their houses, observed a flash of 
light come into their windows about a minute before the explosions 
began;but at York several hundred people, who had just come out from 
a mid-week religious meeting, watched the cloud, but saw no light is- 
sue from it. The cloud was in the direction from which the sound 
came, and was seen some ten or fifteen minutes before the sound was 
iieard. It attracted the people's attention from its very singular ap- 
pearance. There were at the time a few small clouds moving across 
the sky toward the southeast. The motion of the meteor was in a 
different direction from that of the cloud, and it was soon generally 
believed that the cloud and the noise had no connection. At Ports- 
mouth, the sound appeared to come from the cloud of smoke that 
the meteor left behind it, and the people in that town said that the 
explosions were repeated in very quick succession, growing less intense 
for the space of a minute, and resembling the report of Chinese fire- 
crackers, or the scattering fire of an ill-trained company of soldiers. 
At every explosion the cloud threw out arms of smoke in every di- 
rection, which seemed to increase its size. At York, the meteor ap- 
peared much higher in the heavens than at other places, being only 
about twenty-five or thirty degrees from the zenith. Clouds apparently 
passed below the smoke, which continued to be visible for half an hour 
after the explosions ceased, and then gradually moved before the wind 
to the southeast. At New Gloucester, the explosions were like the 
discharge of several heavy cannon a short distance away, and in very 
quick succession, the smoke that followed the meteor seeming to be 
beyond the clouds in a southeasterly direction. At Portland, three 
reports like cannon were heard, followed by a rumbling noise like 
thunder, and the bufldings were perceptibly shaken by the explosion. 
The common people of the time believed ti..it the noise was caused 
by the bursting of the meteor in the air, though they could not un- 
derstand the reason of the repeated reports. Rev. Thomas Clapp, a 
former president of Yale College, who was an authority on meteoric 
bodies, gave his opinion of such meteors as this as follows : "They are 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. I45 

solid bodies, half a mile in diameter, revolving round the earth in long 
ellipses, their least distance being about twenty or thirty miles ; by 
their friction upon the atmosphere they make a constant rumbling 
noise, and collect electrical fire, and when they come nearest the earth 
or a little after, being then overcharged, they riiake an explosion as 
loud as a large cannon." 

A newspaper of that period said that the superstitious people of 
Maine regarded the meteor with awe, being convinced that the sounds 
accompanying it were a premonition of a bloody conflict among the 
citizens of Massachusetts on account of the separation of the province 
of Maine from that state, to which it then belonged, which they prophe- 
sied would occur.^ The journal above referred to said ; " The old 
women at the eastward plainly heard the firing of cannon and mus- 
ketry, with the regular beat of drums, and saw the ensigns of war wave 
in the air, and are of the opinion, that it is a prognostication of the 
Province of Maine being separated from the rest part of the Common- 
wealth, and the other part fighting them ! " 

iThe separation took place in 1820, thirty-three years after this prophecy was given. 
10 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 

The Gale of 1788. 

"TT VERY disastrous gale was experienced in the western portion 
F| of New England on the afternoon of Tuesday, August 19, 1788. 
/ New York also suffered from its injurious eflects. 

During the forenoon the wind blew from the southeast, and the 
weather was very cliangeable, rain and sunshine alternating, About_ 
noon the wind changed to the south and became fresher, the sky dark- 
ened somewhat, and the rain increased, apparently settling down for 
a long storm. At about one o'clock, the wind suddenly changed, be- 
coming more westerly, and the gale burst upon certain portions of 
four of the New England states. For about twenty minutes at a time 
the wind blew terribly. It continued with variable force all through 
the afternoon, its direction also being very changeable. At times it 
was extremely powerful, and as late as four o'clock it blew with great 
force from the northwest, in the neighborhood of Pittsfield, Mass. 

The strong southerly wind brought in the tide at New Haven, Conn,, 
to such a height that the wind forced the waves against Long wharf so 
fiercely that considerable damage was done to it, and several vessels^ 
there snapped the ropes that held them, but did not receive any mate- 
rial injury, 

A considerable number of houses, bams and other buildings were 
blown down, and many more unroofed by the wind. Hundreds of 
acres of tall timber trees were broken off or torn up by the roots, apple- 
trees were destroyed, and fruit was blown from the trees that re- 
mained. Fields of Indian com were levelled evenly with the ground, 
(146) 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. I47 

appearing in places as if they had been mowed with a machine. 
Grain was also destroyed, and in some gardens cabbages even were 
torn out by the roots. Great damage was done to fences, pole fejices 
even not escaping, and stacks of grain were swept away. Roads were 
so blocked with the fallen trees that they were rendered impassable 
for a number of days, and many cattle and horses, and several persons 
were killed or more or less injured by the trees as they fell. 

New Haven, Conn., not only suffered from the tide and the wind 
in the harbor, but fields of corn, and orchards with the fruit still on 
the trees were destroyed. 

In Massachusetts, the gale wrouglit havoc in many towns. At 
Springfield, it wholly destroyed a number of dwelling houses and other 
buildings, orchards, forest trees, and crops of various kinds, and many 
cattle were killed by falling trees. The loss suffered by the inhabi- 
tants of that town alone amounted to a considerable sum. At North- 
ampton, the wind blew hardest at about three o'clock when the gaie 
came from the southwest for some twenty minutes with almost irre- 
sistible force. Three barns and several small houses were levelled 
with the ground, and several barns were unroofed, much damage also 
being done to crops and trees, but no human lives were lost A child 
was killed in Hatfield, and at Whately, Conway and Ashfield several 
buildings were blown down, many horses and cattle being killed. It 
was the most terrific wind remembered by the people of Pittsfield, 
where several houses and barns were demolished, one of the barns 
belonging to the tavernkeeper, Mr. Wood. Across the street from 
the inn stood the barn of Doctor Foot, which was partly unroofed. 
Boards, shingles, and other fragments of the buildings that were de- 
stroyed mingled with branches of trees in the air, and Wi're carried a 
considerable distance. No persons lost their lives there, but several 
head of cattle were killed by the falling trees. The wind was even 
more severe at Lanesborough than at Pittsfield. Many acres of fine 
timber trees were laid level with the ground, and a cow and horse 
were killed. In Petersham, Westminster, and the surrounding towns 
the gale was very disastrous, and at Deerfield and the towns north- 
west of it the wind was exceedingly strong. 

Vermont also suffered considerably from the gale, buildings, fences, 
trees and crops being destroyed. At Dummerston, a young child, 
while fleeing through the woods to the house of the nearest neighbor. 



I4S HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW £KGLAND. ^^^^H 

was killed by a falling tree. The trees also fell upon many cattle, 
which died from their injuries, while oihers were killed outright. 
Many buildings were unroofed, and some blown down. In some 
places acres of strong large oaks were swept away, root, trunk, and 
branch. The town of Putney also suffered severe losses, a number 
of barns being unroofed, and several cattle killed by falling trees. 
Scarcely a town in that vicinity escaped the fiiry of the gale. 

In the state of New Hampshire, the wind was strong, and effective 
of much injury in many towns. At Sanbornton, several bams were 
unroofed, and nearly every shed was taken up and blown to pieces, 
one eighty feet in length being carried half a mile. Acres of strong 
oaks and great rock maples, two feet in diameter, were torn away by 
the roots, or broken off only a few feet from the ground, and carried 
along by the wind for many yards. Several yoimg and finely growing 
apple orchards yielded to the fury of the wind, and were destroyed. 
A large number of cattle were killed by the trees in the woods, but 
no person was materially injured. In Hanover, the gale was said to 
have been beyond description, A new house belonging to Captain 
M'Clure and several other buildings were demolished. A sad result 
of the wmd in that town was the destruction of a shed, in which were 
two men and fourteen horses, the men and animals being so badly 
bruised and otherwise injured that all of them soon after died. In 
one of the adjoining towns a number of great timber trees came 
crashing down upon several persons who were travelling through the 
woods injuring them fatally. ^Meredith, New Hampton, and towns 
around thera had a large part of their crops, trees and fences de- 
stroyed by the wind, which was as furious there as in the other places 



named. 





The Whirlwind of June jg, Tjg4. 

THE most terrible wind that liad been experienced in western 
Connecticut since its first settlement passed over a portion of 
tlie country at about five o'clock on the afternoon of Thursday, 
June 19, 1794. Its general direction was from the northwest to the 
loutheast. It first appeared in Poughkeepsie, N. Y., where it blew 
down several buildings, and destroyed other property. In Connec- 
ticut it passed through the towns of New Milford, Newtown, Water- 
town, Waterbnry, Northford and Branford. 

Before anything unusual ajipeared in the heavens a peculiar sound 
was heard in a westerly direction. After the noise had <;ontinued 
for several minutes a dense, dark cloud appeared over the hills. As 
it approached it seemed like an immense body of smoke or fog, and 
at length jt was discovered to be in a state of extreme agitation, wreath- 
ing in and out and whirling in the most furious manner. The foremost 
pail of the cloud had the appearance of a common thunder cloud, 
being thick and heavy, but not very dark. Its height and width were 
about an eighth of a mile either way. We have said its width, but di- 
ameter would be more correct as the cloud was round. It whirled 
along like a cylinder revolving perpendicularly. Those who saw it 
directly in front, and only six or eight rods away, said that innumer- 
able streaks of fire ran across it in every direction, and at a distance 
the cloud seemed to lighten up now and then. It was supposed by 
some people at the time that the light was due to friction caused by 
the articles that were revolving with great rapidity in the vortex of the 
cloud, among wliich were the herbage of the field, parts of fences, 
5 and trunks of trees, boards, doors, barrels, clothing, 
B geese and other fowls and birds. The centre of the clo\id was 
At Northford it seemed to divide into several smaller whirl- 
inds, yet forming one complete cylinder of air and cloud. The vor- 
('49) 




150 HisTOaic sroRWS of new England. 

tex contracted and increased in diameter at several periods of its ' 
progress. When it contracted its force seemed to lessen, and as it 
grew larger it became correspondingly more frightful and disastrous. 

Its course was irregular, and it travelled with great rapidity and in 
the wildest confusion. Its path, though well defined, greatly varied in 
wiilth. It was very narrow on the highlands, but when the cylinder 
of cloud and whirling wind descended a hill it seemed to spread out 
like a flood of waters rushing down with a velocity that constantly in- 
creased, and became quite wide when it reached the valley. As it ap- 
proached, the noise became louder until it rumbled like the roar of 
an earthquake. Those persons who were carried up by the wind 
into the cloud and yet escaped with their lives said that it was as dark 
as night during the three or four minutes they were in it, and that the 
noise was deafening and awful. Those wlio were quite neai- it, and 
yet escaped said that it appeared to them most fearful and sublime. 
Afte the column of wind had passed by, a little rain fell from the rear 
end of the cloud, accompanied by a small amount of hail. 

The destruction occasioned by the wind was most disastrous, many 
houses, barns, and other buildings being bloivn to pieces, a number of 
cattle killed, and several human lives lost. Orchards and forests yield- 
ed to its irresistible power, and strong oaks, sturdy maples and elastic 
walnuts were torn up by the roots or twisted off leaving stumps from 
tliree to fifteen feet in height. Every fence and stone wall in its 
course was demolished. 

On either side of the path of the whirlwind the air was calm. An 
incident showing this is thus related. A gentleman was quietly silting 
in the stoop of his house, unconscious that such a terrible messen- 
ger of destruction was so near him, when without feeling the force of 
the wind in the least, he was amazed to see his bam, which stood but 
about four rods from his house, lifted up and moved offits foundations. 

Ac New Milford, the wliirlwind came into tlie town on the north- 
west side and passed through in a southeasterly direction. Fortu- 
nately its course lay just outside the village, as it there encountered, 
few dwelling houses and other buildings. It made broad paths 
through extensive tracts of woodland, that were visible as far as the 
eye could reach. Timber trees of various kinds and sizes and of 
great strength were prostrated, being broken down or torn out of the 
ground by the roots. A few cattle were killed by falling trees and tim- 




I 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 15! 

bers from demolished barns. Three houses were wholly destroyed, 
and twelve were unroofed and much shattered. Eight bams were 
snatched from theit foundations and torn to pieces. 

Benjamin Stone, jr., saw the cloud approaching, and being aware 
of its terrible import, he took his four children (his wife being away 
from home) and hurried to his new, strong barn, which he thought 
would withstand the wind. The building was but a few rods away, 
and they had time to reach the bay in it before the whirlwind struck 
the place. But Mr. Stone was wrong in his estimate of the wind's 
force, the bam tipped over, and he and the children were carried un- 
der the sills into the yard, amid timbers and fragments of trees that 
were moving hither and thither in great confusion. They escaped, 
however, with only shght wounds. Mr. Stone's house was stripped of 
all its shingles, clapboards, boards and windows, leaving the frame 
bare, and several of the timbers were also scattered about. All the 
contents of the house above the lower floor, — furniture, clothing, and 
provisions, were carried away, scarcely anything being found that was 
Btill whole, and many of the articles were never seen again. A purse 
containing sixteen dollars, that was kept in a case of drawers was found 
eight or ten rods away. The residence of Thaddcus Cole was torn 
into fragments. When the whirlwind struck the house there were in 
it Mrs. Cole and her infant child, and a Mr. Tucker, who were all bur- 
ied in the ruins. Tlie neighbors discovered their condition, and with 
willing bands they hurried to relieve them, but an hour elapsed before 
they could be extricated. The child was found dead, having been 
killed in its mother's arms, Mrs. Cole was greatly bruised, and Mr. 
Tucker was so severely injured that for a long time it was supposed 
he could not recover. 

John Carpenter was in a iield with iive or six hired men and two of 
his sons, one of whom was eleven years old, and they were suddenly 
[Overtaken by the whiriwjnd. They immediately fell on their faces, 

id, grasping the herbage of the field, clung to it while the furious 

ind repeatedly raised their bodies up and let them fall upon the 
ground, bruising them considerably. Fence rails and parts of trees fell 
thickly about them. Mr, Carpenter was wounded in his back by a 
rail, and his younger son had his head beaten two inches into the 
ground, almost mortally wounding him. Mr. Carpenter's horse was 
tvhirled into the air, being carried twelve rods up a steep hill, where he 



Tu 

^Bhis 
^^^Ovi 

K°; 

ll thi 

ral 
1^^^ ground, almc 
^^^L tvhirled into 



152 HISrORlC SI'ORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

Struck with so much force tliat his body indented the ground to the 
depth of five or six inches. He was then whirled back, nearly the same 
distance, being found dead at about the same place where he was first 
attacked by the terrible wind. Another horse, that was hitched to a post, 
was carried over a stone wall inloafieldof wheat, a distance of forty or 
fifty ro(is. A new ox-cart was completely broken into pieces, wliich 
were scattered in all directions. One of the wheels with the axle-tree 
was found about three rods away, and the other wheel was carried two 
or three rods further, being forced some distance into the ground. 
The body of the cart was found four or five rods farther away and an 
iion washer that had belonged to it bad been carried a rod or two 
beyond. The water in a large brook was also taken up and distrib- 
uted over an adjoining field. Several large trees were carried from 
thirty to sixty rods. A hackmatack, or tamarac, tree was taken up by 
the roots, and carried along in its natural position. At times it would 
descend nearly to the earth, then rise with great rapidity to the height 
of some three hundred feet. Appearing to play around it were two 
or three large objects that were supposed by the people who witnessed 
the scene to be barn doors. They attejided the tree in all its evolu- 
tions until it disappeared from sight. One barn door was found eight 
or ten miles from the place where it was snatched up by the wind. 
A heavy oak log, fifty feet long, and nuie inches in diameter at the 
small end, was lying on the lower side of a road which ran along the 
slope of a steep hill, and a smaller log lay on one end of it. The two 
logs were taken up by the wind and carried to the other side of the 
road. At Newtown, several houses and bams were blown down, and 
its effects were also severely feit in Watertown and Waterbury. In 
Northford, the whirlwind providentially passed over a portion of the 
town that had but a scattering population, and therefore did not de- 
stroy many buildings or injure any persons in its course. Several build- 
ings were however removed from their foundations, and some were 
torn to pieces. It did considerable damage in the destruction of for- 
est and fruit trees, and sugar maples. It was also felt at Branford, 
and probably ended its disastrous career on the Sound. 






CHAPTER XLI. 

The Long Storm of November, Ijg8. 

THE long and severe winter of 1798-99 began on the morning 
of Saturday, the seventeenth of November, 1 798, with one of the 
severest snow storms that has ever been known in New England, 

On Sunday it became quite moderate, and for a time appeared to 
be clearing off, but when night came on the snow began to fall fast 
again, and the wind blew from the northeast with the force of a gale. 
The storm continued all day Monday and Tuesday and until the night 
of Wednesday, when tlie weather cleared, the wind ceased to blow 
and the snow to fall. 

The great quantity of snow that fell was unprecedented so early in 
the winter, and in but few instances had the settlers experienced such 
asnow storm during any part of the year. The mail carriers, or post- 
boys, as they were called, were obliged to ride through fields for miles 
at a time, the roads being impassable in all parts of the country. The 
snow was so deep that in some places where the highways had been 
shovelled out the banks of snow on both sides of the road were so 
high that men on horseback could not look over them. Many houses 
were so deeply buried in the snow that the families which lived in them 
found it very difficult to make an egress without tunnelling through 
the drifts. 

The snow fell so densely, and the wind blew so terrifically, that 
great damage was done to the vessels along our coast. One of them 
that sailed from one of the n 1 p rt f the West Indies a few 
days before the storm began 1 d by Captain Hammond. 

He was in the height of the ff C pe Cod, and though his 

was one of the vessels that w h d h g le he was nearly driven 
on shore, all but one of aboi f rty h hat formed part of the 

cargo perishing on the deck A was possible the vessel 

returned to the port from which it had sailed. 

C'53) 



154 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

Many vessels were wrecked on the Cape, and seven of them went 
to pieces, all the people on board being lost. The bodies of twenty- 
five of tlie men who lost their lives here in this storm washed ashore, 
were found and buried. One of the ill-fated vessels was the schooner 
Rachil, of one hundred tons burden, nearly new, and commanded by 
Capt. Joiin Simpson of Frenchman's bay, Sullivan, Maine, who was 
then about thirty-five years of age. He was the sole owner of the 
craft. With a cargo of lumber he sailed from Sullivan for Salem, Mass., 
about the middle of the month, his crew consisting of William Abbot, 
mate, Zachariah Hodgkins, Stephen Merchant, and James Springer. 
There was also on board a passenger, Paul D. Sargenl, a young si 
of Paul D. Sargent of Sullivan, who was on his way to attend a school 
in Salem during the winter. As far as Herring-gut harbor, St. George, 
Maine, they kept company with another schooner, which bore the 
name of Diana, whose commander was a brother of Captain Simpson. 
The weather had then become quite threatening, and the wind began 
to blow very strongly from the northeast. The two schooners were 
so near each other at this time that their captains discussed the situ- 
ation. They were of diverse opinions, and the result was that the 
Diana made a harbor, while the Rachel kept on its way before the 
wind, its captain believing that the strong breeze would enable him 
to reach his destined port before the storm should come upon them. 
His calculations proved to be erroneous, for he had accomplished 
but a small part of the distance when 

■' The black clouds the face of heaven deSned, 
The whistling wind soon ripened to a storm, 
The waves tremendous roared, and billows rolled." 

Snow began to fall, and blasts from the northeast swept the craft o 
through the blinding storm. Fearing the wind would drive them ashore 
they steered away from the Innd as far as possible, and though the 
general line of the Massachusetts coast was cleared they did not escape 
the sandy peninsula of Cape Cod, that great arm of the Common- 
wealth that is thrust out into the sea as if to grasp the vessels as they 
. With many others the schooner was driven upon the beach a short 
distance below where the Highland liglithouse at Tniro stands, be- 
tween the second and third sand hills. Every person on board \ 
lost, all their bodies being found, some on the wreck and the rest on 
the beach. That of the captain was easily recognized by his clothing 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 



'55 



i 



and the articles found in his pockets. The young passenger was iden- 
tified by his apparel, which was betttr than that of the crew. Many 
little tilings belonging lo the captain were found, carefully preserved 
and forwarded to his family. There were among them a small trunk 
covered with sealskin, also a pearl-handled pocket-knife and a small 
handkerchief, the latter having been put into his pocket by his five- 
year-old daughter the day he sailed from home. The bodies of the 
drowned were all tendedy interred in the old cemetery at North Truro, 
where there has been erected to their memory a tablet of fine Italian 
marble set in a base of granite, quarried near Captain Simpson's home 
Sullivan. 

The brig Hopi, commanded by Capt. James Hooper, sailing from 
lemerara, British Guiana, South America, was off the coast when the 
l«onn commenced. A harbor could not be made, and at length the 
'igale came on so terrifically that they were in the utmost danger. 
They cut away their mainmast and dropped both their anchors, but 
were still driven before the blast. Fearful that they would run upon 
some rocky shore and be dashed to pieces, the captain and his crew 
left the vessel and embarked in an open boat, hoping that it would 
live among the furious billows. They were then about six miles from 
the nearest lighthouse in the direction of which they sailed, and final- 
ly reached a harbor in safety. After they left the brig it parted both 
cables, and at last was driven upon the beach at Hampton, N. H. 
The seamen remained at the place -where they were until the storm 
was over and they had learned the fate of their vessel, when the 
captain with the owners went to Hampton, where the brig was found 
high on the beach in an upright position. Its hull had suffered but 
very little damage, and the cargo, consisting of rum, coffee and sugar, 
was but slighdy injured. 



I 



( 




1 



CHAPTER XLII. 

Hail Storm in Connnticut in lygg. 

THERE have been several very destructive hail storms in New 
England, but the most disastrous of tliem all was that which oc- 
curred in Connecticut on the afternoori of Monday, July 15, 
1 799. The shower passed over Litchfield county, crossed the Con- 
necticut river near its mouth, and then went in a northeasterly direc- 
tion, being most severe in the southern portion of Lebanon and in 
the towns of Bozrah and Franklin. The path of the shower grew 
wider as it advanced, and in Franklin, the last place where hail fell 
it was about four miles in width. Beyond that town rain fell in great 
quantities. 

About five o'clock in the afternoon of the day mentioned, a dark 
and fierce looking cloud was seen rising from the western horizon. 
As it came up it grew darker and moved with ever-increasing rapidity. 
Half an hour later, in front of it, a brassy colored cloud rolled up like 
a volume of smoke, and diffused itself over it, growing brighter and 
becoming much agitated and very wild in iis appearance. Then, a 
little to the north of the place where the first cloud arose, another one, 
large and black, and similar to it in its general aspect, was seen to as- 
cend until the two met, when the summits of both shot up and over- 
spread the heavens. It was almost as dark as evening at six o'clock, 
when forked lightning, sharper than the people then remembered ever 
to have seen before, darted from tlie clouds, followed by continuous 
peals of heavy thimder, and the rain fell in torrents. After a short time 
there was a lull in tlie storm, during wliich birds and animals, being 
greatly frightened, fled to various places for safety. Some of the 
people thought that the worst of the shower was over. The calm 
continued but a few moments, however, and then the wind breezed 
up and soon blew violently. It quickly increased to a gale, and was 
accompanied by a roar which penetrated to the very hearts of those 




I 

I 



HISTORIC STORMS Of NEW ENGLAND. 157 

that heard it, being doubly awful amid the darkness, the raiu, the 
intense hghtning and terrific crashing of thunder. Next came 
sounds like bricks being thrown from the chimneys upon the roofs of 
the houses, and the windows were smashed in as though with rocks. 
Hail stones were falling, at first scatleringly, but in a moment so thickly 
that there was an unbroken shower of them. It seemed lo many as 
if the day of judgment, with its sheets of flame and stones falling 
from heaven and tremendous thunder, was at hand. The elements 
were in an awful and sublime uproar. Hail fell for about fifteen min- 
utes in all, but for only a few moments with great rapidity and in large 
quantities. A heavy shower of rain immediately followed, and the 
waterranwith violence, wjshing the hail into large ridges and the frag- 
ments of plants it had destroyed into hejps and hearing them away 
together to tlie streams and lowlands. An hour had passed since it 
began, when the shower ceased, the clouds rolled away, and the set- 
ting sun shone brightly over a wet and ravaged country. 

The larger hail stones were carefully measured in several places and 
found to be from two to three inches in diameter, and from four and a 
quarter to six inches in circumference, even after the rain ha<l washed 
diem and they had probably become somewhat smaller than when they 
They were not perfect globes, but somewhat flattened, with un- 
edges. Banks of hail five or six inches deep remained on Sat- 
urday and Sunday following, nearly a week after they fell, and the 
larger specimens then measured three and a half inches in circumfer- 
ence. They were driven by the wind against everything in the track of 
the shower with almost as much force as if they had been fired from 
a gun. 

Nearly all the windows on three sides of the houses that were in the 
storm's path (the wind probably being variable) were broken ; and not 
only the glass, but in some instances the sashes also were destroyed. 
Shingles on the roofs of buildings were badly split and beaten off, and 
fences and buildings were so deeply indented with the hail stones that 
the marks always remained. Vegetation and fruits were almost en- 
tirely destroyed by the hail and wind combined. Flourishing corn- 
fields were wholly cut down and swept away, and in some of them not 
a single stalk remained standing. Rye, oats, flax and similar crops 
were nearly ruined. Many fields were immediately plowed up, and in 
others only about one-sixth of a crop was obuined, and that cost more 




158 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW E\GL4ND. 

than it was worth. The stoutest grass was not only beaten down level 
with the ground, but cut to pieces and blown or washed away or driven 
into the earth with great force. Tlie hail stripped great numbers of 
apple trees of their fruit, leaves and twigs, and then the wind blew 
them down. The smaller Iruit trees, as the peach and plum, were so 
barked and bruised that tliey died. Even the hard-wood trees had 
their trunks more or less bruised, and were so much wounded in their 
tender branches and stripped of their leaves that at a distance of two 
or three miles they appeared as if a fire or a blight had been through 
them. The wind also overturned forest and ornamental trees, unroofed 
or removed several barns and destroyed maiiy fences. 

It was providential that so few human beings were injured by the 
hail. Only two or three men and one or two children were knocked 
down, one child, who was about fourteen years old, being so bruised 
and stunned that his senses did not return to him for two days. But 
few animals were killed, although many were very badly injured, some 
cows being so much wounded thai their backs were bloody. Several 
horses had their legs greatly bruised, cut and swollen. The smaller 
animals suffered much more severely than the larger ones. Some pigs 
four months old and a number of sheep were killed by the hail, and 
geese, turkeys and other domestic fowls met with the same fate. 
Quantities of birds were found in the fields and gardens either dead 
or with broken legs and wings. 






I 



N Wednesday, March i8, 1801, began a rain stonn, which con- 
tinued until the next Saturday, four days in all, causing the 
greatest flood ever known in some sections of New England. 

At Groton, Mass., it was very severe, and in the southeastern por- 
tion of Vermont, mills, bridges, and other property were washed away 
or destroyed to the value of more than two hundred thousand dol- 
[■lars. 

Fourteen bridges, seven grist-mills, five saw-mills, two clothiers' 
(hops and works, one dwelling- house, two barns and several small out- 
houses in Connecticut, situated on the Farraington river and its branch- 
es, were carried away and destroyed, besides great quantities of lum- 
ber and fencing material. From the banks of the river, near the res. 
idence of Capt. Dudley Case at West Simsbury, were seen floating 
down the stream, one after another, a grist-mill, a saw-miil, a dwelling 
house, a clothier's shop and a bridge intact. It is impossible to esti- 
mate the amount of damage done on thb stream. No other freshet 
has equalled it. 

Two incidents of this flood have been found recorded in the jour- 
nals that were current at that period. One of them relates to two 
boys, who on Saturday, the last day of the storm, were travelling along 
the turnpike in Thompson, Conn., half an hour after sunset. One 
of them was Cushion Brown and the other Otis, son of Gen. Daniel 
Lamed. They reached the Quinebaug river, and attempted to cross it, 
the water being above the road and running very swiftly. Larned was 
a little in advance of Brown, and after walking in the water a distance 
of about three rods, suddenly phmged into a hole that had been made 
by the raging flood. The current swept him into the middle of the 
stream, and he was not seen again. Nine days later his body had not 
been found. Young Brown continued on his way through the water 
with great care and reached the other side in safety. 

C159) 




I60 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

The other incident was much sadder than the foregoing. A boy, 
whose age was fourteen, and his sister, children of Josiah Adkins of 
West Simsbury, Conn,, went into a. mill belonging to a Mr. Cleveland 
to take down and remove an old weaver's loom thai was owned by the 
family. They began to work upon it, and became so deeply engrossed 
ill what they were doing that they did not observe that the mill was 
afloat until it began to move off its foundations. The girl was the 
first to discover it, and she quickly ran to the door to make her escape. 
Water had surrounded the building before they had entered it, and a 
plank had been placed from the bank to the threshold of the mill door. 
She attempted to reach the shore by way of the plank, and had placed 
but one foot upon it before the other end of it was drawn off the 
ground by the moving building, causing her to tumble head foremost 
into the raging current. She was carried down the stream about 
thirty yards, to a point where some shrubs hung over the water. She 
made an effort to reach them, and being successful clung to them till 
she was able to draw herself to land. Her brother found his way of 
escape cut off, and he was forced to stay in the mill, which was borne 
down the stream a considerable distance in its ordinary position. 
The people along the shore saw the boy standing at the door and 
heard him beg for assistance, but no one could help him. His par- 
ents were among the crowd looking at him.while he faced the dangers 
that would probably sooner or later prove fatal to him, and they fol- 
lowed along the banks of the river, keeping abreast of the floating 
mill. This continued some distance farlher, and then the building 
struck a large rock, causing it to suddenly turn. The boy was heard 
to cry for help once more, and then there was silence within the mill. 
The building trembled for a moment and then crumbled to pieces. 
Then followed minutes of agony to the parents, as they stood on the 
shore watching for some sign of their son. Oh, what agonizing 
thoughts and feelings thrilled them when they saw their child in such 
terrible danger and were powerless to lift a hand to save him I They 
did not distinguish his body as it was carried down the stream with 
the d4bris from the mill, and which a few hours later was taken from 
the water about half a mile below. His death was undoubtedly in- 
stantaneous, as his head was .foimd to be shockingly bruised, and 
there were many other wounds which were apparently caused by blows 
from falling limbers. His remains were carried home to his almost 
broken-hearted parents, and the next day interred in the family lot. 





The Great Snow Storm of Ftbmary, 1802. 



THE winter of i8oi-oz was very mild, the month of January be- 
ing so warm that on the twenty -fourth, the ice on the Merrimac 
river began lo move down the stream, and on the twenty- eighth, 
at Salem, Mass., the thermometer indicated sixty degrees above zero. 
It was the wannest January that the people remembered. There had 
been but httle snow, and they congratulated themselves upon the 
pleasant winter and the prospect of an early spring. 

On Sunday, the twenty-first of February, the aspect of the weather 
wholly changed. The first part of the day was remarkably pleasant, 
but the wind soon changed to the northeast, and a fierce snow storm 
came on. The storm continued for nearly a week, covering the earth 
with snow and sleet to the depth of several feet. Intense cold pre- 
vailed, which produced much suffering among all classes, and caused 
the sleet to freeze upon the snow, forming a crust so hard and thick 
that the people, not distinguishing the location of the roads, drove in 
their sleighs across lots over fences and walls. Hon. Bailey Bartlett, 
Ichabod Tucker and several others ©f Haverhill, Mass., drove from 
that place to Ipswich, a distance of sixteen miles, in a large double 
sleigh upon the crust of snow across fields and pastures. The mail 
carriers were also greatly interrupted in the performance of their duties. 

This was one of the winters to which the old folks of two genera- 
tions ago were wont to refer, when no roads were broken out, and 
the farmers dragged their grists of corn on hand sleds upon the crust 
of the snow across fields, through woods and over fences and waits to 
the mills to get it ground. 

The storm prove<i very disastrous to the vessels along the coast of 
Massachusetts, A schooner came ashore at Plum island, and a brig 
and a sloop were cast away at Cape Ann. On Chelsea beach a ship 
and a schooner were wrecked. The brig Eliza, commanded by Cap- 
tain Ricker and owned in Berwick, Maine, while on its trip from 

(.61) 



L 



t$3 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

Demerara to Boston, by way of ihe Vineyard, was driven on shore near 
the place of its destination on Monday, the twenty second. Two 
scliooners were also cast ashore at the same time and place, one of 
them being from Havana and bound to Salem, and the other belong- 
ing in Marblehead. Fortunately, no lives were lost from either ves- 
sel. Two pilot boats belonging to Messrs. Cole and Knox were driven 
ashore in the bay at Braintree, and a schooner, bound from Halifax 
to Boston, was wrecked on Cohasset rocks, one or more of the crew 
perishing. At Marshfield, the ship Florenzo, commanded by Captain 
Ham, bound from St. Ubes to Portsmouth, N. H., by the way of New 
York, was driven on shore, a pilot, whose services they had secured 
at the Vineyard, and tliree of the crew being lost. Cape Cod, how- 
ever, was the scene of the principal shipwrecks, among them being 
that of a schooner from Martinico, which was driven ashore at Sand- 
wich, her crew and cargo of molasses being saved. 

Fifty years ago, the storm was best remembered by the people liv- 
ing on Cape Cod, on account of the WTecks there of three East-India- 
men, from the port of Salem, Mass. They were all full-rigged ships, 
and were named Ulysses, Brutus and Volusia, being commanded by 
Captains James Cook, William Brown and Samuel Cook, respectively. 
The first two were owned by G, Crowninshield and sons, and the other 
by Israel Williams and others of Salem. On that lovely Sunday morn- 
ing, the three vessels proudly passed down the harbor of Salem, the 
Brutus and Ulysses being bound to Bordeaux, in France, and the Vo/u- 
sin to a port iu the Mediterranean. A few hours after their departure, 
snow began to fall, the temperature descended very quickly, and be- 
fore the next morning dawned, the wind blew a gale. 

The storm came on so suddenly and was so furious that the people 
in Salem, to many of whose families the ofBcers and crews belonged, 
were anxious to learn sometliing from the vessels, and tlieir owners 
also were interested as the ships and their cargoes were valuable. The 
first information that was received indicated that all the vessels and 
their crews were lost. Gloom rested upon the faces of the people as 
they conversed about the probable accuracy of the report. 

ous wailing, for the tidings of the miasing — 



And the motliec's heart is aching as the child she's fondly liissing 
Whispers softly from ils cradle, ' Will papa come no more?' " 




II T'" 

^^■lo t 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND, 163 

They were kept in suspense several days, and net till the fourth of 
March did they begin lo learn the particulars of llie great disaster that 
had come to the vessels and their crews. The story has been told 
thousands of times around the hearth-fires of a past generation, al- 
ways being listened to with great interest. A warm summer-like day 
in February would bring the tale to the minds of those who remera- 
, bered how lovely thai quiet Sunday was, and what a terrible storm of 
pBDOw, sleet and wind immediately followed. 

At sunset on that beautiful day, the ships were about ten miles south- 
Boutheasterly from the Thatcher- island lighthouse at Cape Ann, the 
wind was blowing lightly from the southeast, and all three vessels were 
sailing together toward the east northeast. Snow began to fall soon 
after, and a storm seemed to have begun. During the latter part of 
the evening the captains spoke each other, and discussed the situation. 
Had they better return and wait until suitable weather came, or push out 
to sea as fast as possible ? They finally concluded to continue on the 
voyage, and turning their prows toward the east added to their sail. 
Tiiey made but very little progress, however, as the breeze was so 
it it had but slight effect upon the canvas, and at times seemed to 
.ve them entirely. They continued together until midnight, when 
le snow fell faster and the wind grew strong, having suddenly changed 
Id the northeast. The weather had now become so threatening that 
the captain of the Volusia regretteil that he had consented to con- 
tinue on the voyage, and at half pasl two in the morning, concluding 
to risk the trip no farther, he put about on his return to Salem. The 
other vessels were so far from him that he could not see them, and 
he therefore started back without informing tiiem of his change of 
mind and course. 

Before the Volusia could reach Cape Ann, the snow fell so thickly, 
and the wind blew so hard that it was found impossible to enter the har- 
bor. Thwarted in their design they were now under the disheartening 
icessity of running before the wind, and endeavoring to keep the 
lip away from the dangerous coast. With reefed top-sails they man- 
;ed to do this through the early morning hours and mostof the fore- 
in, though the wind was blowing a gale from the east -northeast. At 
o'clock they saw land to the leeward, which was immediately 
Cape Cod, whose perilous shores they knew full well. 
ley saw th^t it was almost impossible to weather the cape, and that 




jG4 historic storms of new 

the only thing they could do would be to tack and try to run into the 
cape harbor. Just then the wind parted the fore-top-sail sheet and 
tore the sail into shreds, at the same time carrying away the slings of 
the fore-yard, which brought the yard down on deck, and rendered 
the head sails useless. Their hope of reaching the harbor was now 
utterly gone. They could do nothing but let the vessel drive on 
shore, and if they succeeded in reaching it all would be well ; but 
how little hope any of the men had that they would survive the terrible 
breakers and the powerful undertow. They had spent their lives on 
the ocean and knew how slight their chance of preservation was. 
They thought of Salem, of their homes, their wives and children, that 
they would probably never see again, and they seemed to love them 
all then with an affection that was a thousand-fold stronger than they 
had ever felt before. Kindred thoughts filled their minds during the 
ten minutes that elapsed before the ship struck the bar, about a mile 
from the shore, off Truro near the Peaked hills. The crew had al- 
ready cut away the mizzen-mast, and now the main lanyards were 
severed, and the main-mast fell over the side of the ship. After a 
short time the vessel beat over the bar, and was driven quite near the 
shore. Hope came to ihem again. They knew at what time of the 
day low-tide would occur, and so they patiently waited until the afte» 
noon when the tide was at the lowest point. Many of the inhabitants 
of the cape had gathered on the beach, and with their assistance the 
land was successfully reached by the entire crew. The vessel and 
part of the cargo were also saved, although much damaged. 

Let us now return to the Brutus and the Ulysses that the Volusia 
left in the night, plowing their way oceanward in the storm. The Vol- 
usia had left them at half-past two in the midnight darkness of the 
early morning, they not being aware of what had become of her. 
An hour later the captains of the two vessels spoke each other, and 
now agreed that the safest plan would be to tack to the north-north- 
west till daylight came, and then endeavor to run out of the south 
cliannel. They acco'rdingiy changed their course, and continued in 
the proposed direction until sin o'clock. The Brutus then turned to 
the southeast, but the Ulysses headed for Cape Ann as the Volusia 
had done earlier in the morning. Captain Cook of the Ulysses kept 
his course until eight o'clock, then brought the ship round and stood 

It of the bay, under as much canvas as she could possibly carry. 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW I.NGLAND. 165 

I The gale increased, and they were obligeil to reduce the amount of 
[ Bail in the afternoon. At five o'clock tliey sighted the highlands of 
I Cape Cod, and immediately tacked to the westward. The sky was 
I dark and gloomy, the snow was falling thickly and the wind blew with 
I so great fury that the only canvas the ship could carry were her fore- 
sail and mizzen-top sails. They did not dare to expect that they 
would weather the shoals, and thought they must strike immediately. 
The waves dashed over the deck cartying away from the bows one of 
the anchors, and more than an hour was spent in heaving it into place 
again. At ten o'clock in the evening the ship struck on the bar at 
the northern pitch of Cape Cod. The bowsprit and foremast were 
soon carried away by the wind and waves, and the main-mast, the miz- 
zen-mast, the boats and everj'lhing on the declc followed a few mo- 
ments later. The hull only remained, and the crew fled to the cabin 
for protection. The ship lay thumping upon the bar but a few min- 
utes, when some gigantic waves lifted it over, and carried it toward 
the beach. There they remained all night in almost utter hopelessness. 
Tlie ship had bilged, and the men watched it fill with water until the 
fioor of the cabin was covered. Their situation was now most seri- 
ous, as the vessel was filling with water and they were far from shore. 
Before morning dawned, the tide had reached its extreme ebb, and 
the ship was happily left on the beach, near the water's edge, only 
about a mile from the wreck of the Volusia. Tiie crew easily reached 
the shore, and received assistance from some of the people of Prov- 
incetown. A part of the cargo was saved, though it was much dam- 
ped, but the vessel finally went to pieces. 

Wlien the Brutus separated from the Ulysses at six o'clock on Mon- 
day morning, it changed its course to the southeast, carrying all the 
gail it possibly could. It weathered the gale all through that day, 
but was constantly driven shoreward. During the day Andrew Her- 
ron, who belonged in Salem, while engaged in reefing the foresail was 
blown from the yard, and fell, being instantly killed. He was a for- 
eigner by birth, and a prudent and industrious young man, who by 
hard labor had accumulated considerable property. He was engaged 
e married to a worthy lady of Salem, who was greatly affected by 
s death. About eight o'clock in the evening, the ship struck on the 
ar, two miles fiom the lighthouse and near the place where the Volu- 
a and Ulysses came ashore. She remained on the bar some time, 




I66 



HISTOKIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 



I 



and at length was lightened by throwing overboard a large part of 
tlie cargo. The waves then carried her over, and she ran upon the 
beach. The mizzen-raasC was now cut away, and a feiv moments later 
the main-mast also. Hardly had this been done, when the crew were 
hoiritied to discover that the ship was parting in the middle. They 
must get on shore immediately, or perish in the waves. But how 
could ihey reach the land? Fortunately, the main-mast had fallen 
toward the beach, and on that they crawled as far as they could, Cap- 
tain Brown bravely leading the way. He was the first man to get on 
shore. The two mates followed, and then came the seamen. All but 
one man, George Pierce of Marblehead, reached the beach in safety. 
He was overcome by the terrible waves, and drowned. The men 
were wet and cold and exhausted, and it seemed to be as fatal to re- 
main on the beach as to have staid on the vessel. Something must be 
done for their presentation immediately. They determined to keep 
in a body, and if possible to cross the neck of land and seek a place 
of shelter. This was the coldest night of the winter, the temperature 
being below zero, and the strong northeast wind pierced them through 
and through. Captain Brown was very tiiinly clotlied, having lost his 
thickest garment as he left the ship. He soon succumbed to the in- 
tense cold and the fatiguing march through the deep snow, which was 
too exhausting for his weak limbs to continue furtlier, Mr, Ruee, the 
first mate, and the other seamen tenderly assisted him as well as they 
could, but they could not rally his waning strength and will. When 
they had reached the western side of the bay, about a mile from Prov- 
incetown, between that town and Truro, the captain gave up entirely, 
and soon after expired. It was now nearly midnight. One by one the 
men began to give out, Jacob Ayers of Manchester, the second mate, 
a worthy and promising young man, being one of the first to perish in 
the snow. Soon after, several others of the crew, becoming exhausted, 
dropped into the drifts, and froze to death. The survivors travelled 
about, not knowing whither they went, til! about four o'clock in the 
morning (Tuesday), when they discovered a lighthouse. The party 
was now reduced to five persons only. They had wandered about, 
back and forth, in the course of the night, more than twenty miles. 
With hmbs stiffened by cold and fatigue, they were just able to drag 
themselves to a small house situaied in the vicinity of the hghthouse. 
They made their presence knoivn to the people within, who opened 




t 



HISTORIC STORMS OK NEW ENGLAND. 167 

wide their doors, and assisted the wretched mariners to enter. Here 
the sufferers received the most humane treatuient. Search was im- 
me dial ely begun for those who had fallen in the snow during the night, 
but not one of them was saved. Had the wrecked seamen varied 
their course either to the right or left, they would have seen either 
the town of Truro or Provincetown, and probably fewer of them 
would have been lost. One of the men, Benjamin Ober, who be- 
longed in Manchester, was found buried in the sand and snow, after 
having been there for thirty-six hours, being all that time in his full 
senses, and perceiving people coniinually passing near him, but pow- 
erless to move his body or make the party of rescuers hear his feeble 
voice. At length he held up his hand through the snow, and a boy 
saw it. Willing and strong arms immediately bore him to a warm 
room, but it was too late to revive his feeble life, which soon ebbed 
away, 

'I'be following is a list of the names of the crew of the Brutus. 
Those that perbhed were William Brown of Salem, captain ; Jacob Ayers 
of Manchester, second mate ; and Benjamin Ober of Manchester, An- 
drew Herron of Salem, Samuel Flagg of Andover, George Pierce of 
Marblehead, and three negroes belonging in Salem, named Benjamin 
Birch, John Lancaster and John Tucker, seamen. The five men who 
survived were Thomas Ruee of Salem, first mate ; and Joseph Phippen, 
jr., Robert Martin and William Rowell, all of Salem, and Daniel Pot- 
ter of Marblehead, seamen. The bodies of those that perished were 
found the next day, and properly interred. Captain Brown, being 
found near Provincetown, was buried there, but the rest of the men 
having perished near Truro, were there given their last resting place. 
Captain Brown's death was sincerely mourned by a large number of 
people, as he had been a most valuable member of society. 

During an easterly storm in i38o, the waves washed away a portion 
of the bank where the wreck of the Brutus had lain, and under it was 
found the skeleton of a man, who was supposed to have been an offi- 
cer of that ship. With his bones were found some silver coin, and 
a watch that had stopped at two o'clock, which was shortly after the 
hour that the wreck occurred. The author of the History of Truro 
adds, "The wheels of the watch and the wheels of Ufe stood still, and 
had been wrapped in their sandy winding-sheet for seventy-eight 




Storm of October, 1804. 

TTT about nine o'clock in the morning of Tuesday, October 9^ 
r1 1804, the temperature fell very suddenly, and a storm of rain 
/ and snow, accompanied by thunder and lightning, began. In 
the southern part of New England it rained, and in the northern por- 
tion the storm began with snow. The wind blew from the southeast 
until one o'clock in the afternoon, when it changed to the north- 
northeast, and before sunset became so powerful that it blew down 
houses, barns, chimneys and trees. The wind reached its height in 
the evening, and at midniglit began to blow less violently, abating 
considerably before morning, tliough the storm of rain and snow 
continued until Thursday morning. People sat up all that night, fear- 
ing to retire lest their houses would blow down. >Vednesday morn- 
ing revealed the streets in towns encumbered with sections of fence, 
whole or parts of trees, and many other things that the wind could 
carry away ; and the country roads were everywhere obstructed with 
iallen trees. 

Inthe southern portion of New England the rain fell in extraordinary 
quantities until the wind grew less violent, when snow began to fall, ■ 
continuing all day Wednesday, that night and until the storm ended 
the next morning. In Vermont, the snow fell till Wednesday morning 
only, covering the earth to the depth of four or five inches, though 
along the higher lands the wind blew it into such large drifts that the 
roads were blocked, thus giving it the effect of a much greater storm. 
At Concord, N. H., tlie snow was nearly two feet deep, and in Mas- 
sachusetts from five to fourteen inches. In the southern portion of 
New England it melted in a few days, but in the northern states it re- 
mained in places until the next spring. 

It was the earliest snow storm that the people of eastern Massachu- 
setts had experienced for fifty years ; and "the oldest inhabitant" did 
{168) 



I 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 169 

not remember so violent a storm occurring there before. It did not 
reacli far either north or south, but was felt inland beyond the limits 
of New England. 

The effect of the storm on apples and potatoes was very disastrous. 
The fruit was blown from the trees, and in the northern sections large 
quantities of potatoes Ihat remained uniliig were frozen into the ground, 
where they were left until the next spring, being harvested after the 
frost was out. The storm also caused the death of large numbers of 
cattle and sheep, and fowls of all kinds, especially around Walpnle, 
and at Newbury and Topsfield, Mass. At Newbury nearly a hundred 
cattle were killed, thirty being found dead in one section of the town. 
The snow also greatly damaged the fruit, shade, and ornamental trees, 
being so damp that it clung to the boughs and broke Ihem down by its 

light. The noise of breaking limbs of trees was continually heard 
in the woods. 

The gaie was very injurious to the pine and oak timber trees of the 

irests, destroying the larger portion of the best oaks tliat were useful 
ship-building. It has been said that so many of the great oaks 
rere destroyed that the building of vessels declined in Massachusetts, 
and that the great gale of 1815 brought about its entire abandonment 
in several places. At Thomaston, Me., a sisty-acre timber lot was 
«lmost entirely blown down. Such great sections of the woods were 
levelled that new landscapes and prospects were brought into view to 
the surprise of many people. Houses and other buildings and hills 
that could not be seen before from certain places were now plainly 
■Tisible. Tlie change was so great in some localities that the surround- 
ings seemed to have become entirely different, and people felt as if 
they were in a strange place. 

Buildings and chimneys were blown down or greatly damaged by 
the wind. At Danvers, Mass., the South church (now included in 
that part of the town which was afterward incorporated as Peabody), 
and also the Baptist church at the port were unroofed, the latter hav- 
ing one of its sides blown in and the pews torn to pieces. At the 
brick-yard in that town belonging to Jeremiah Page, thirty or forty 
thousand unburned bricks were ruined by the rain, tiie wind blowing 
\9o violently that no covering could be kept over Iliem. At Beverly, 

le spire of the lower meeting house, as it was then called, was broken 
At Salem, the dome and belfry on the Tabernacle church were 




170 

torn to pieces ; and a barn belonging to a Mr. French was blown down, 
killing one of his truck horses. Several sheds were also blown down. 
Many chimneys could not withstand the blasts, and fell. The three 
chimneys on the ancient court house that stood in front of the Tab- 
ernacle church in the middle of Washington street, being observed to 
be broken near the roof and tottering as if about to fall, were pushed 
over before they had caused injury to any one. Among the other 
chimneys blown down were three on William Gray's house in Essex 
street, and two on Captain Mason's house in Vine street, one of the 
latter falling upon the roof of Asa Pierce's house, which it broke 
through. No one in Salem suffered personal injury, fortunately. At 
Charlestown, the roof of the Baptist church was blown off, the spire 
on Rev. Dr. Morse's church was much bent, and two large dwelling 
houses were demolished. A brick building in the navy yard that had 
recently been erected was very much injured and had to be taken 
down. The brick-yards there were also much damaged, many bricks 
being destroyed.- The wharves m Boston were somewhat injured, 
particularly May's, and the damage to buildings was considerable. 
Several new buildings were badly shaken and twisted, being so much 
injured that they had to be taken down and built anew. At the west- 
em part of the city, the wind blew the battlements from a new build- 
ing upon the roof of an adjoining house, which was occupied by 
Ebenezer Eaton. Shortly before, a neighbor noticed that the batde- 
ments were giving away, and directed the attention of Mr. Eaton to 
it. He accordingly took his wife and children, and went to a safer 
place. A few minutes later the battlements fell and demolished the 
house, burying in its ruins the four persons who remained in it. These 
were a servant woman, named Bennett, who was killed, and another 
woman, a man and a boy, who were seriously injured. The roof was 
torn from the tower of King's Chapel, and conveyed two hundred feet. 
The beautiful steeple on the North church fell, and demolished a 
house, the family that lived in it fortunately being away on a visit. 
While the wind was blowing very violently, a stage was upset at the 
bridge at the west-end, some of the passengers being considerably 
hurt. Houses were also damaged at Newport and Providence, R. I. 
The shipping was also very much injured by the wind all along 
the coast from Rye, N. H., to Newport, R, I, Many vessels in the 
harbors dragged their anchors or broke their cables, and dashed against 





HISTORIC SrOR-MS OF NEW ENGLAND. 17I 

each other or the wharves, or were driven upon lee-shores and wrecked. 
The hves of many seamen were lost. In Vineyard sound a sloop was 
upset, and all hands perished, and on the back of Cape Cod the 
schooner John Harris of Salem was lost with all on board. Five 
miles south of Cape Cod lighthouse, the ship Protestor, of about five 
hundred tons burden, while on a trip from Boston to Lima, ran on the 
outer bar, about two hundred yards from the beach. This was a large 

isel for those times, and was quite attractive, having yellow sides 
'hite figure-head. She went ashore stem first. Her bowsprit 
remained for some time, but the quarter deck, a part of the stem and 
the anchor on the larboard bow, with the boat, sails and rigging were 
soon washed away, some of the wreckage coming ashore. Of her 
cargo, which was worth a hundred thousand dollars, a considerable 
part was saved. One man was lost. Several vessels were driven ashore 
at Plymouth, and the dead body of a mariner was found on the beach 
and those of two others in a wreck. Vessels were driven out to sea ■ 
fiom Marblehead, Manchester and other places and lost. 

The brig Thomas of Portland was returning from a voyage to the 
West Indies, when she went ashore on Scituate beach. The cargo 
of sugar and molasses was safely landed, and the vessel was gotten 
off without much damage being done to it. 

The sloops Hannah of North Yarmouth, Capt. Joshua Gardner, mas- 
ter, and Mary of New Bedford, which was commanded by Captain 
Sanson, drifted together out of the harbor at Cape Ann, and were 
driven on shore at Cohasset at about the same time. The Hannah 
struck on a ledge some distance from the shore on Wednesday noon 
at twelve o'clock, and the first sea that swept the deck carried off the 
master, who was drowned. Two of the men lashed themselves to the 
boom, and remained on deck about two hours, until the vessel went 
to pieces, when the boom with the men still lashed to it washed ashore. 
Several of the citizens of Cohasset saw the men plunging in the surf, 
and came to their assistance, saving them when they were nearly ex- 
hausted. The people on board the Mary were all saved, and the 
vessel was afterward gotten off. Three other vessels came ashore at 
Cohasset, and were wrecked. 

At Boston, many vessels in the harbor were damaged by being forced 
by the wind violently against the wharves. The Laura, belonging in 
Gloucester and commanded by Captain Griffin, was nearly beaten to 



fja HISTORIC ETTORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

pieces at Long wharf, and her cargo was very much damaged. Many 
of the small craft were so blown about and strained that they bilged 
and sank, several of ihem being slaved to pieces. Some of the larger 
, vessels also bilged, and several liad bowsprits, stems and other sec- 
tions broken. Cargoes were also damaged. Several men were drowned 
there during the gale, two being cast into the water from a boat that 
upset at May's wharf, and drowned before they could be rescued. A 
lad was endeavoring to keep a sloop f e of w ter near Four Point 
channel, but his efforts proved I I When the vessel was 

sinking he clasped a plank, but w oon w h d off and drowned. 

The vessels in the harbor at Sal m I d f d about, their anchors 
failing to hold them. Very few w nj 1 however, except two 

schooners, one of which drifted f Glou ster, and the other, 
the Success, commanded by Captain Robbins and laden with fish, 
oil and lumber, put in here while on a trip from Passamaquoddy to 
Boston. They were both cast ashore, and damaged more than any of 
the others. The Succtss lost her anchors and her main and jib booms, 
and finally bilged. 

Near Fresh Water cove in Gloucester, a sloop belonging in Kenne- 
bunk, laden with rum, was lost. The master and crew were saved, but 
a lady passenger perished. A schooner, belonging in Connecticut, with 
a cargo of corn, also went to pieces there, the people on board being 
rescued. Several other vessels were wrecked on different parts of the 
cape ; and six large crafts there had to cut away their masts, among 
them being an English ship from Newfoundland. Four or five vess 
were driven out of the harbor, some of (hem being lost, with their 
crews. A fleet of fishing vessels were off the northern part of the 
cape, and for a while the people were much concerned for their safety. 

The schooner Deve, of Kittery, was wrecked on Ipswich bar, and 
all of the seven persons on board perished. An eastern vessel was 
lost on Rye beach, in New Hampshire, and a woman, who was a pas- 
senger in it, was found dead on the sand, with an infant clasped in 
her arms. Near Eye was also wrecked the schooner Amity, from 
Philadelphia, commanded by Captain Trefethern. All the people 
on board were saved, except a passenger named Charles Schrceder, 
of Philadelphia, who was drowned. 



CHAPTER XLVr. 
Total Eclipse of the Sun, 1806. 

THE only total eclipse of the sun visible in New England during 
the present century occurred on Monday, the sixteenth of June, 
1806. The day was unusually beautiful, scarcely a cloud being 
discernible in any part of the New England sky. The air was dry 
and serene, and so still that the very gentle breeze which came from 
the northwest was hardly distinguishable. Nature gave every oppor- 
tunity for observation. 

The eclipse came on at six minutes past ten and went off at ten 

minutes before one. During the period of five minutes, at about 

. half past eleven, it was total, the moon during that time being sur- 

I rounded by an illuminated white ring, &om which issued minute and 

vivid corruscations. 

There had been a slight frost on the preceding night, and the morn- 
ing was quite cool for the season. When the eclipse came on the 
temperature was sixty-three degrees above zero at Salem, Mass., and 
the heat decreased until the time when the disk of the sun was entirely 
covered. The thermometer then stood at fifty-five and one-half de- 
grees above zero, a diminution of seven and one-half degrees. In 
some places sufficient dew fell on the grass to wet one's shoes. The 
change in the temperature was so sudden and so great that many peo- 
ple, who were in a state of perspiration from their morning's labor, 
became chilled, and some died from its effects, 
k The better educated classes of course expected that a certain degree 
* of darkness would come over the land, but it was found to be much 
more intense than any one had supposed it would be. When the 
eclipse came on the sky was of the brightest azure, but as the moon 
covered the sun's disk the color became darker, and soon grew dusky. 
One star after another came into view, until Venus shone briglitly in 

(■73) 




1^4 HISTORIC STORNfS OF NEW ENGLAND. ^^^^H 

the west. Sinus in the southeast, and Aidebaran sparkled in the ze- 
nith. Mars, Mercury and Procyon also came, and ihe larger stars in 
Orion and Ursa Major were plainly visible to the naked eye. Venus 
was seen for more than half an hour. 

As the sun began to be covered everything around assumed the 
appearance of twilight for ten or fifteen degrees above the horizon. 
From that time the scene was sublime. Night seemed to be settling 
over the land at noon-day. As the darkness increased a feeling of 
awe came over the people, anil though it inspired neither dread nor 
anxiety among the great majority of the people, as the dark day did, 
even the most educated persons could not repress the feeling of 
gloom and solemnity that comes over mankind generally when anything 
of this nature occurs. The wonderful workings of the universe compel 
our notice and veneration. What display could be more sublime than 
this exhibition of the grandeur of nature, arranged on such a stupen- 
dous scale that the inhabitants of a hemisphere could gaze at it with 
perfect ease and freedom I 

The darkness became so intense that the seconds on the dial of a 
dock could not be seen without the aid of a candle, except by very 
sharp eyes, and then with much difficulty. The effect of the dark- 
ness upon animals was about the same as if night were coming on, 
except that they seemed to be somewhat surprised and perplexed. 
Cattle in the pastures ceased feeding, and started for the bars. Fowls 
retired to their roosts, and bees returned to their hives. When the 
darkness began to disappear, and light to come again, the cocks jumped 
down from their roosting places and crowed as lustily as when they 
awoke that morning. 

Ramsey, in 1715. wrote the following lines on an approaching solar 
eclipse, which are as applicable to this one of 1806 as to that. He 



"Black night usurp the throne of day," 

and prophesies that 

"... thoughtless fools will view the water-pail 
To see which of the planets will prevail; 
For then Chey think the sun and moon make 
Thus nurses' tales ofttimes the judgment msr. 





HISTORIC STORMS C 



Be concludes that 



" When this sttange darkness overshades the plaijw, 
Twill give an odd surpcise I'unwained swains; 
Plain honest hinds, who do not know Ihe cause, 
Moi know of orbs, the motions or theic laws, 
Will from the half.plowed furrows homeward bend 
In diie confusion, judging that the end 
Of time apptoachclh; thus possessed wjlh feat 
They'll think the general couRagcalion near. 
The tiaveller, benighled on the road. 
Will turn devout, and supplicate his God. 

. Cocks with their careful mates and younger fry. 
As if 'twere evening, to their roosts will fiy. 
The horned cattle will forget to feed, 

f And come home lowing from the grassy mead, 

I Each hird of day will to his nest repair, 

I And leave to bats and owls Ihe dusky air; 

f The laik and hllle robins' softer lay 

I Will not be heard till the return of day. 
Not long shall last this strange uncommon gloom. 
When light dispels the plowman's fear of doom, 

> Wth merry heart he'll hft his ravished sight 
Up (o the heavens, and welcome back the light, 
wjust's the motions of these whirling spheres, 

. Which ne'er can err while time is met by years 1 
w vast is little man's capricious soul, 

' That knows how orbs through ivilds of aether roll 1 
How great's the power of that omnilic hand, 
"Who gave them motion by his wise command, 

I That they should not, while time had being, stand I" 




The Freshet of i8o?. 

THE first great flood in New England during this century oc- 
curred in February, 1807. It was occasioned by heavy rains, 
which melted the snow and swelled the rivers until they over- 
flowed, carrying away bridges and mills, entering warehouses and stores, 
' and doing great damage. 

It carried away several bridges at the eastward of Portsmouth, N. H., 
and one over Little river in Haverhill, Mass. The principal bridge 
at Lawrence,' and others farther up the Merrimac river were de- 
stroyed. The Watertown bridge and the Milford bridge were also 
carried away. At Pawtucket, R. I., the bridge was destroyed, and 
the cotton factory that was then flourishing there, and four or five other 
buildings floated off. 

In Connecticut, the stone bridge over Swallow-tail brook at East 
Chelsea, that had been built in 1 795, was destroyed. It was recon- 
structed, and is now beneath the street. The Williraantic and Mount 
Hope rivers began to break up on the night of Saturday, February 7, 
and the sOund of the cracking of the vast cakes of ice was hke the 
crashing of thunder. The Shetucket river rose from eighteen to twenty 
feet, and at Norwich the stream could not contain the water that came 
down. Lord's and Lathrop's bridges were swept away, and Lovett's 
was considerably damaged, Lathrop's bridge was rebuilt. The abut- 
ments of Geometry bridge had to be replaced, and Wharf, Courthouse 
and Quarter bridges were somewhat injured. The river overflowed 
its banks here, and the water ran into the cellars and buildings along 
the shores of the stream. The water rose in the houses until it reached 
the first stories, and compelled the inmates to go into their chambers 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 1 77 

to escape the flood, which had come upon them so suddenly that they 
found themselves imprisoned. The water continued to rise higher 
and higher until it was within a few inches of the chamber floors, when 
it was considered unsafe for people to remain in the houses longer, 
and they were taken away in boats, into which they stepped from their 
chamber windows. Captain Rockwell's and other families were re- 
moved in this way. The flood extended from East Main to Franklin 
streets, and from hill to hill, the topography of the city then being 
somewhat different from what it is now, some portions of the streets 
having been filled in. That the flood should spread no further, the 
people erected with great expedition a temporary embankment out of 
timber, spars, rails and wood, securing it in place with heavy stones. 
It was filled in with hay, straw, canvas, and everything that would re- 
sist leakage. It extended from the site of the Wauregan hotel to the 
opposite side of the valley where the streets cross each other. The 
effect of the erection was satisfactory. The water trickled slightly 
over this breastwork, but the embankment was effectual in keeping 
back the great body of water until the river subsided in the course of 
a few hours. 

12 



CHAPTER XLVIir. 

lite Meteorite of 1807. 

TTT about six o'clock on the morning of Monday, December 14, 
M 1S07, when it was yet an hour to sunrise, and dark enough to 
/ make it startlingly visible, the people of the western portion of 
New England who were lucky enough to be out of doors saw a ball of 
fire pass through the air from north to south. It was a rare meteorite, 
and its course lay over Rutland, Vt., the western part of Massachu- 
setts, and into Connecticut as far as Weston, where it exploded. The 
temperature was quite mild that morning, the air was still, the heavens 
were somewhat clouded, and near the earth considerable fog had gath- 
ered. The meteorite was seen by a considerable number of people, 
especially in Vermont and Connecticut, being noticed particularly by 
parties interested ia such things. This was a specimen of the me- 
teoric stones which suddenly and unexpectedly appear and are seen 
for such a brief space of time that it is hardly possible to make ob- 
servations that are sufficiently accurate for scientific calculations. This 
meteorite was one of the most remarkable that ever fell in this region. 
The course of this ball of fire, which was called by some of the peo- 
ple of those times a "terrestrial comet," was a few degrees west of 
south, and its altitude was variously estimated to be from one to five 
miles. It was about three feet in diameter, having a conically-shaped 
train of pale light resembling sparks about two rods in length. It ap- 
peared like a ball of fire, being bright red, and id those sections where 
it passed through clear sky a brisk scintillation was seen about the body 
of the meteorite, the whole appearing like a brightly-burning fire-brand 
■ carried against the wind. 

The speed at which the meteorite travelled was duly estimated and 
found to be about one hundred and sixty miles per minute. It re- 
mained in sight at no place for more than thirty seconds. It did not 
vanish away instantly at last, but apparently made three successive leaps, 

(■78) 





HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 179 

and disappeared with the last, its light growing dimmer at every effort. 
These movements were caused by explosions, and about thirty seconds 
after the last one three loud and distinct reports, like those of a four- 
pound cannon fired near at hand, were heard. They followed each 
other rapidly but distinctly, and all occupied less than three seconds 
of time. A rapid succession of reports less load then followed, which 
ran together so as to produce a continued rumbling, being sometimes 
loud and sometimes fjint. At New Milford, which was more than 
twenty miles from the place over which the met.;oriie burst, the ex- 
plosion was severer than in Weston. The cause assigned for its ex- 
tinction in this manner was the dampness and density of the atmo- 
sphere. 

Sections of the meteorite fell in different parts of Fairfield county, 
some of llie pieces being six miles apart. One mass was driven against 
a rock and dashed into small pieces, a peck of which remained on the 
spot. A piece weighing thirty pounds fell in Weston, and was secured 
entire, being exhibited the next day at the town meeting that was held 
there. Some pieces weighed as much as thirty-five pounds, and others 
thatfell on rocks were estimated to weigh one hundred and fifty pounds. 
A small mass was sent to Yale college, and examined by a number of 
the facultyj who reported that it contained a large percentage of iron. 
As far as history shows this was the first instance in the United States 
where iron was thus found. Scientists said that the stones consisted 
of silex, magnesia, iron, n^kel and sulphur, the light coming from the 
last three substances, which were probably in a state of combustion. 
Where the stones came from is not so easily answered, but they are 
supposed to have been formed of the ingredients of the air. 



I 




"TANUARY ig, iSio, is the date of the famous day known in the 
(p)l annals of New England as "Cold Friday." It was said to have 

\j been the severest day experienced here from the first settle- 
ment of the country to that time. 

To this date the whiter had been unusually moderate. December 
had been quite warm, even milder than November. Very little snow 
had fallen and the ground was bare in southern New England, but 
in New Hampshire and other northern states there was good sleighing. 
The preceding day and evening had been mild for the season, with a 
warm south wind, but at about four o'clock in the afternoon there was 
asquall of snow, the wind sprang up, and immediately changed to the 
north -northwest, increasing in force until it blew with great violence. 
The temperature was then forty-five degrees above zero at Salem, Mass., 
and it suddenly began to descend. The Mxt morning, only eighteen 
houra later, it was five degrees below zero, having fallen fifty degrees. 
At Amherst, N. H., it was fourteen degrees below zero, and in olher 
places thirteen, having fallen as many degrees as it had at Salem. 
At Weare, N. H., the temperature fell fifty-five degrees in twenty-four 
hours, from Thursday morning to Friday morning. The strong pierc- 
ing wind enhanced the cold to a great degree, and penetrated the 
thickest clothing, driving the cold air into all parts of dwelling-houses, 
and making the day almost insufferable in common houses and terri- 
ble out of doors. Few people ventured out, and those that did had 
their hands, noses, ears or feet almost instantly frost-bitten. Many 
people were frozen to death while travelling along the highways. At 
times and places the wind was so strong that it was difficult to keep 
on one's feet. The gale continued all day, and houses, barns, and 
vast numbers of timber trees were blown down, or broken to pieces 
(ISO) 




in such a way as to render them unlit for timber, being left to decay 
where they fell. 

At Chester, N. H., the wind lifted a house, letting one corner of it 
fall to the bottom of Ihe cellar- At Sanboroton, the three children of 
Jeremiah Ellsworth perished with the cold on this morning under very 
sad circumstances. As Mr. Elisivorth and his svife were uncomforta- 
ble in bed, they rose about an hour before sunrise. Shortly after, a 
part of the house was blown in, and it was thought that the whole 
structure would be demolished. Leaving the two elder children in bed, 
because their clothes had been blown awjy, Mrs. Ellsworth dressed 
the youngest child and went into the cellar for safety, while her hus- 
band started for assistance to the house of the nearest neighbor in a 
northerly direction, which was a mile distant. He found it to be too 
hazardous to face the wind and so changed his course toward the house 
of David Brown, which was the nearest in another direction, being 
onlyaquarter of amile away. He reached it as the smi rose, his feet 
being considerably frozen, and his whole person so benumbed by the 
cold that he couhl not return with Mr. Brown to bring his wife and 
children in a sleigh. Having arrived at the house, Mr. Brown put a 
bed in the sleigh and placed the children upon it, covering them with 
the bed clothes. Mrs. Ellsworth also got into the sleigh ; but they 
had gone only six or eight rods when it was blown over, and all the 
persons and every thing were lodged in the snow. Mrs. Ellsworth held 
the horse while he reloaded the sleigh. She decided to walk, and 
started off ahead, but before Mr. Brown's house was reached was so 
overcome by the cold that she thought she could not go farther, and 
sank into the snow. She thought that she must perish, but at length 
she made another effort and crawled along on her hands and knees 
until she met her husband, who was searching for them. She was so 
changed by her experiences that he did not at first recognize her. By 
his help she reached the house. Mr. Brown had not yet come. After 
Mrs. Ellsworth left him, lie again started, but had gone but a few rods 
when the sleigh was torn to pieces by the wind, and the children thrown 
to some distance. He collected them once more, laid them on the 
bed and covered them over. He then hallooed for assistance, but no 
one answered. He knew that the children would soon perish in that 
situation, and as their cries of distress pierced his heart, he wrapped 
them all in a coverlet, and attempted to carry them on his shoulders. 




J 



l8z HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

But the wind blew them all into a heap in the snow. Finding it im- 
possible to carry all three of the children, he left the child that was 
dressed by the side of a large log, and took the other two upon his 
shoulders. But again lie failed to carry them against the strong 
wind. He then took a child under each arm, they liaving on no other 
clothing than their shirts, and in this way, tJiough blown down every 
few rods, he finally reached the house, having been about two liours on 
the way. The two children, though frozen stiff, were alive, but died 
a few minutes after reaching the house, Mr. Brown's hands and feet 
were badly frozen, and he was severely chilled and exhausted. The 
body of the child was found before night, Mr. Brown lived many 
years afler this experience, but never recovered from its effects, becom- 
ing blind in consequence. 

The cold continued to be extreme until the forenoon of the follow- 
ing Monday, when the wind changed to the southwest, and the tem- 
perature began to rise. 

At Springfield, Mass., on the cold morning, a heavy fog seemed to 
be passing down the river. The cold air congealed it into fine snow, 
which rose as high as forty feet above the water. It continued through 
the day, but was most conspicuous about two o'clock in the afternoon, 
A similar phenomenon was seen at the same time in Salem. It there 
had a smoky appearance, being so dense that it was opaque, but rose 
only a few feet above the surface of the water. 



CHAPTER L. 
The Freshet of 1814. 

IN May, 1S14, a great and disastrous freshet occurred in Maine. 
The weather had been very inclement for the season nearly all 
the month. From the second to the ninth, there were but two 
pleasant days, and on the night of the thirteenth rain commenced to 
fell in torrents, continuing without intermission until the night of the 
seventeenth. During those four days and nights more water fell than 
the people remembered to have fallen in the same length of time. 
The weather did not clear, nor the rain wholly cease until the nine- 
teenth. It then became very warm, the temperature rising to seventy- 
eight degrees, and a greater freshet than had Wen known in tliat region 
fo{ a third of a century followed, doing incalculable damage in several 
pbces. 

The Mousam river was so raised by the great rain that the bridge 
in the village of Kennebnnk was entirely swept away, and for some 
time afterward foot travellers were carried over in boats. The dams 
and mills were also much injured. 

Tiie Saco river, which is so quickly affected by heavy rainfalls, be- 
came a roaring flood of waters. At Conway, N. H., where so much 
loss was occasioned by the deluge of 1 785, a carding- and fulling-mill 
and a dwelling-house were taken down before the freshet in order to 
save them. The dam of the iron works tiiere was carried off, and the 
people greatly feared that the works themselves would also be swept 
away. A short distance down the stream, at Fryebnrg, in Maine, a 
bridge in the southeastern part of the town, leading across a branch 
of the Saco river, was destroyed. The flood then rushed down to 
Brownfield, where ail the bridges on the main road were carried away, 
and thence to Hiram, where the bridge over the Saco and part of 
that across the Great Ossipee river were lifted and set adrift down the 
stream. The principal part of the mills, several dwell ing-iiouses, aa 

("83) 



l84 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

immense number of logs and boards, and all the bridges between 
Buxton and the mouth of the Saco river, including the two bridges in 
Saco, were carried out into the ocean. 

The losses sustained on the Androscoggin river by the freshet were 
equal to those on the Saco. Eight saw-mills, a valuable aqueduct, 
and part of the bridge between Topsham and Brunswick were carried 
away, and a hundred thousand dollars' worth of logs and much other 
valuable property floated out to sea. 

In almost all the towns in that section of Maine there was more or 
less damage done. The bridge, between Long pond and Brandy pond 
at Otisfield, was swept away on the night of Wednesday, the eighteenth, 
and strange to say it floated up the stream until the next day at noon, 
when the current turned. Many parts of the bridge floated back to 
the place where it had stood, and were pulled out of the water. The 
dam and five grist- and saw-mills ia Waterford and vicinity were also 
carried away. The mill pond above the mills of C. Johnson, Esq., 
and others in Windham rose so high and pressed so hard that a new 
oudet was formed through the sandy banks. 



CHAPTER LI. 

Tlxe Tornado in Nciv Hampshire in 1814. 
TTT about five o'clock onilie afternoon of Saturday, May ji, 1814, 
r1 in New Hampshire, there was a violent storm of wind and rain, 
J accompanied by hail. It passed over Litchfield, Merriniaci 
Londonderry, North Chester, and some of the adjoining towns. It 
crossed the Merrimac river near Read's ferry, in a northeasterly direc- 
tion, and contumed as far as Chester, a distance of seventeen miles, 
its width being from fifty to a Iiuadred rods. It was severely felt, a 
I considerable number of houses, bams and other buildings, trees of 
I «11 kinds, and fences being destroyed. The injury to wood lots was 
very great. Few trees could withstand the violence of the wind, 
strong oaks, ancient maples, and lofiy pines alike yielded and fell 
prostrate. Some were broken or twisted off from five to thirty feet 
above the ground, but most of them were turned up by the roots. 
Many fences were wholly destroyed, being torn to pieces and ihe frag- 
ments scattered everywhere. One or two persons were killed and 
several injured by falling buildings. It also proved fatal to cattle in 
several places. Much window glass in houses was broken by the 
hail-stones which were said to have been extremely large. A journal 
of that time says that some of the pieces were of an enormous size, 
weighing more than half a pound, and measuring eleven inches in 
circumference. 

In Litchfield, two houses and two barns were demolished, and Jon- 
athan Coombs was badly injured by a part of one of the buildings. 

The tornado first appeared in Merrimac about half a mile west of 
the house then owned by Lieut, Samuel Foster. One of Mr. Foster's 
bams was demolished, the pieces being scattered in every direction. 
In it were a horse and two calves, none of which were injured. He 
had two other barns unroofed, and otherwise considerably damaged. 
Benjamin Hartshorn also had a barn unroofed. About half a mile 

(185) 




l86 raSTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

from the house of Nathan Parker, Esq., in his field, three of his sons 
and two other persons were at work with him. They saw the storm 
approaching, and speedily made their way to the barn, which they 
entered for shelter. But in a few moments, realizing that they would 
not be safe there, they all ran out, and had hardly crossed the thresh- 
old when the wind struck the barn, demolishing it. One of Mr. 
Parker's sons, a lad of about eleven years of age, was struck on the 
neck by a stick of limber, and instantly killed. Another of the boys 
was severely wounded. 

In Londonderry, seven bams and sheds were demolished. An in- 
cident connected with the tornado in this town is related of Doctor 
Hartley, as follows. He was returning home in his carriage, and per- 
ceiving the storm approaching with great rapidity, with singular fore- 
thought he alighted and unharnessed his horse. A moment later the 
wind carried the carriage over a fence about twenty rods away, and 
dashed it to pieces. 

At North Chester, a house and bam were damaged to the extent of 
a thousand dollars. A pair of oxen were taken up by the wind, and 
carried some distance, being finally tiirowa into a pond and killed. 




Till Gale of September 3$, 1815. 

THE stimmerof 1815 was remarkable for exceptionally violent and 
disastrous storms all along the Atlantic coast, and the columns 
of the newspapers were filled with accounts of the great de- 
struction of life and property on both land and sea. The equinoctial 
gale of September, however, exceeded them all in violence, and 
caused greater and more general disaster than any that had preceded 
it, not that year only but since the settlement of the country. 

The storm began at three o'clock on the morning of Friday, the 
twenty- second, when the wind was at the norlheasX, and rain fell copi- 
ously until sunrise. Shortly after, the clouds partly broke away, and 
fair weather seemed about to return. During the forenoon, however, 
the clouds became thicker, the sky darkened, and in some sections of 
New England rain fell to a considerable amount. In the afternoon 
the wind blew with increased force, and rain continued to fall in small 
quantities. Through the night the wind was moderate, and there was 
a slight fall of rain, but before sunrise next morning the wind again 
became violent having changed to the east in the night, and about 
nine o'clock was very strong, having veered to the east- northeast. At 
\ ten o'clock it shifted to the southeast, and continued to increase in 
I force until it blew so fiercely that buildings, fences, trees, vessels along 
the exposed sections of the coast, and all kinds of movable things, 
' were swept away before it. But little rain fell during the tornado 
where it was the fiercest. The wind did not blow steadily, but came 
ia gusts, and continued its work of destruction until noon, when it 
I changed to the southwest, after which it quickly subsided. Then a 
► little more rain fell, but before night pleasant weather had come. 

During the heaviest part of the gale fires could not exist in the houses, 
I being blown out as fast as they were lighted. This might have been 
f the result of the peculiar condition of the air, which at about the time 

C1S7) 



i88 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 



that the wind changed to the souliieast was very oppressive and al- 
most suffocating. Respiration was laborious and difficult. This was 
particularly noticeable at Worcester, Mass., where a hot wind seemed 
to envelope the town and render the air non-elastic. 

The gale swept away buildings of all sizes and varieties from churches 
to sheds, unroofed an exceedingly great number of others, and dam- 
aged many thousand more to a greater or less extent. On the roofs 
of some of the structures shingles were stripped off in rows from the 
eaves to the ridge-poles. In some places the air seemed to be full of 
shingles and fragments of timbers and boards, forced hither and thither 
by the blasts. Great quantities of forest, shade, ornamental and fruit 
trees were uprooted or broken down, many of them being twisted like 
witiies. Fruit of all kinds was blown from the trees and destroyed. 
The gale of October, 1804, had blown down many timber trees, and 
this wind came from the opposite direction and prostrated the great 
oaks and pines that had escaped at that time. The loss in timber 
trees was exceedingly great ; and in order to save as much as they 
possibly could from the ruins of their forests the owners had the logs 
sawed into lumber, with which they constmcted houses, bams and 
other buildings. Probably New England never knew another season 
of such building activity as prevailed in 181 7 and 18 18, the logs hav- 
ing been sawed in the winter of 1815-1816, and the lumber seasoned 
during the following summer. This occurred in hundreds of towns 
and villages, and in one case, at least, a church was erected on this 
account. This was the old South church at Reading, Mass., the dmber 
on the "ministerial" lands being almost wholly blown down. Had the 
storm occurred a little earlier, when there was so much more com and 
grain in the fields, it would have produced a great deal more suffering. 
As it was, besides the great quantity of hay that had been gathered 
into barns, and was now scattered to the winds, much of the apple 
crop was ruined, and also com and grain. Many persons were killed 
by falling houses and trees, and others were drowned from the wrecks ■ 
vessels along the coast. The lives of a large number of animals were 
also destroyed by falling trees. The next day was Sunday, and the ri 
ligioua services held that day were scantily attended, as the men were 
busy in caring for their property, and in building or repairing fences ti 
protect from cattle the crops which had escaped the fury of the wind. 

The surface of the sea, bays, harbors and inland waters was made 




ca 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. I89 

amooth by the force and velocity of the wind, no waves or other un- 
evenness being seen upon them when the gale blew the strongest. 
Along the coast the wind so drove in the water tliat the tide rose to 
a great height, deluging wharves, streets and cellars. 

The wind carried the salt water of the ocean more than forty miles 
Into the country destroying the foliage of the trees, crisping and curl- 
ing the leaves of plants, and giving to all vegetation with which it came 
in contact tiie appearance of having suffered from a severe frost. 
Along the Massachusetts coast, a thin layer of salt was formed on the 
sides of houses and other things that were exposed to the wind, es- 
pecially on windows, owing undoubtedly to the comminuted particles 
of salt carried that great distance by the terrific wind. The brooks 
and small rivers became quite brackish, and the rain-water that fell 
as far inland as Worcester and Sterling, in Massachusetts, more than 
forty miles from the sea, had a strong brinytaste. In some localities 
fresh water was long a rarity, and it has been said that some of the 
springs did not fully recover from the effects of this deposit of salt 
for years. Some people have thought that so much of this saline sub- 
stance could not have been carried to such a great distance by the 
wind, and that it must have been generated in the air in the localities 
where it was noticed. 

Many birds, whose home is on the ocean, were driven with the spray 
twenty miles inland. Flocks of sea-gulls were seen in the meadows 
at Grafton and Worcester, in Massachusetts, in the forenoon, but 
during the afternoon, after the storm had subsided, they speedily re- 
turned to their lonely abode on the deep. Several sea-swallows, prop- 
erly petrels, or what the sailors call "Mother Gary's chickens," were 
also seen quite a distance inland. Their usual abode is on the 
deepest water of the ocean, and they are rarely seen within many miles 
of land. They alight on vessels at sea, and are so tame that mariners 
call them chickens. The people did not remember to have ever seen 
Ihem on land before, and to the knowledge of the writer such an in- 
:ance has occurred but twice since, ihe last time being a few years 
ago, during a severe easterly storm, when they were driven inland a 
distance of at least fifteen miles. I'hey were so tame that they would 
allow themselves to be handled by the people. They had never re- 
ceived other than kind treatment from sailors, and therefore had no 
to suspect harm from landsmen, 




igo 



HISTORIC STORMS OF ?JT;W ENGLAND, 



As blast after blast of the wind blew down buildings, the pe^I^^ 
closed windows and doors, but what more to do tliey did not know. 
Awriter has said that if the windows and doors on the leeward side of 
the buildings had been left open a far less number of roofs would have 
been blown off. The gale came against the sides of the houses bear- 
ing them in and compressing the air inside, and when the force was 
withdrawn the inside air expanded and raised the roof ; or, according 
to the more reasonable view, the preisure on the side caused the air to 
press the roof upward that being the portion of the building that 
would most readily yield to a force from within. 

The countenances of the people during the gale bore an expression 
of awe and fear. Men Bpoke in low tones in the lulls of the wind, 
but were silent and held their breath when it raged again. Each one 
thought that his house might be the next to be shattered to atoms, 
and that the lives of his family might be taken. The first intimation 
that the wind had begun permanently to abate cheered the hearts of 
the people, hope and joy taking the place of doubt and fear, and they 
felt as if a burden of insufferable weight had been rolled from their 
shoulders. 

The gale was felt as far south as Delaware, and inland to a consid- 
erable distance beyond the New England states in a westerly direc- 
tion. Just how many lives were lost, many of them being those of 
husbands and fathers, and how much property was destroyed cannot 
be ascertained. Neither can any one know how many fond hopes 
were forever blasted, how many changes in life and its plana were 
caused, nor the pain of body and heart that followed. 

The force of the gale was principally and most severely felt in Nar- 
ragansetl bay in Rhode Island. The wind swept the bay, and Provi- 
dence suffered from its effects more than any other place. From ten 
to half-past eleven o'clock it blew a hurricane. About the wharves 
and lower part of the town generally confusion reigned. High water 
was about half-pasl eleven o'clock in the forenoon, and the wind 
brought in the tide ten or twelve feet above the height of the usual 
spring tides, and seven and a half feet higher than ever known before, 
oversowing and inundating streets and wharv-es. The vessels there 
were driven from their moorings in the stream and tastenings at the 
wharves, with terrible impeiuousity, toward the great bridge that con- 
nected the two parts of the town. The gigantic structure was swept 




I 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. I9I 

away without giving a moment's check to the vessels' progress, and 
Ihey passed on to tlie head of the basin, not halting until they were 
high up on the bank. All the vessels were driven ashore, or totally 
destroyed. There were wrecked in the cove four ships, nine brigs, 
JKven schooners and fifteen sloops. After the storm they lay high 
id dry, five or six feet above high-watermark, in the streets and gar- 
dens of the town. One sloop stood upright in Pleasant street before 
the door of a Mr, Webb, and a ship was in the garden of General 
Ijjjpet. Nine of the vessels that were driven ashore were success- 
ftilly launched again, but more than thirty were totally lost. 

The owners of the stores, wharves, and otiier property in the inun- 
dated district exerted themselves to the utmost to save all they pos- 
abiy could from destruction, but with little success on account of the 
terrible violence of the gale. The water was rising rapidly, trees 
were falling, chimneys were crashing through roofs of houses or into 
the street, tiles a.id tailings from the tops of buildings, and other 
dangerous missiles were flying through the air, making it ha^rdous to 
be out of doors. 

The storm raged with increasing violence, and the water was rap- 
idly rising and deluging the lower parts of the town. Wharves were 
being washed away, stores .and other buildings on them were about to 
leave their foundations, and the water surged around the houses of 
the people who resided in the lower sections. All considerations of 
property soon gave way to a more important concern. Every one 
the more exposed parts of the town became solicitous for his own 
personal safety and that of his family and friends. Stores and dwell- 
ing houses were seen to reel and totter for a few moments, and then 
plunge into the deluge. A moment later their fragments were blended 
with the wrecks of vessels, some of which were on their sides, that were 
passing with great rapidity and irresistible impetuosity on the current 
the head of the cove, to join the wrecks already on the land- 
On the west side of the river the water rose nearly to the tops of 
the lower windows of the houses, and people were removing, in boats 
and scows, from their dangerous situation. Most of the stores and 
other buildings were destroyed and the fragments carried into the cove 
above the bridge. On the east side the water rushed impetuously 
through Weybosset street, which was the principal thoroughfare, nearly 
a yard in depth, turbulently carrying along with it boats, masts, bales 



^^B a yard in c 



191 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 



of cotton, etc., with almost resistless force. It seemed as if that por- 
tion of the town was doomed. The store on Bowen's wharf just be- 
low where the bridge had siood still maintained its place, though 
much injured, but all the stores below, on the east side, were either 
carried away or so much damaged that they were in a great measure 
useless. Several dwelling-houses on Eddy's point were carried off, 
leaving not a vestige behind. In Westminster streej:, the water was 
from six to eight feet above the pavements. The Second Baptist 
church, which was located near the water, was entirely demolished and 
that of Rev. Mr. Williams, which also stood in a very exposed place, 
was considerably injured, and if the tide had continued to rise but 
a few moments longer that, too, must have been destroyed. All 
the space which but an hour or two before had been occupied by 
valuable wharves and stores filled with goods, and the river that had 
been crowded with vessels, were now one wide waste of water raging 
and furious. Along the higher portion of land were heaped together 
lumber, wrecks of buildings and vessels of every description, carriages, 
and bales of cotton, mingled with household furniture, coffee, soap, can- 
dles, grain, flour and other kinds of merchandise. Those who wit- 
nessed it said that it was a prospect of such widespread desolation 
and havoc as was beyond description, 

A brig, that was laden with living stock and ready for sea, was 
driven by the gale against the end of a wharf, her head resting on it. 
There the vessel hung, and from time to time it seemed as if she must 
upset and plunge into the raging flood. Her crew, consisting of nine 
persons, clung to her, and awaited their fate. It was not safe for the 
people on shore to venture to their relief, as the space between them 
and the vessel was filled with rooft and other parts of stores tumbling 
about whh the violence of the wind. Becoming desperate the sailora 
made an effort to reach the shore. They quitted the vessel and crawled 
along on the rolling, bounding debris, the wind threatening them with 
instant destruction. They endeavored to gain a foothold on some- 
thing, and as they struggled the people looked on. At length the 
seamen came near some houses that were still standing, and some of 
the men were pulled in at the second-story windows by the people in 
the houses. The rest of them could not come within reach, and at 
length plunged into the clearer water between two houses and safely 
a ashore. Similar incidents were constantly occurring. 




j or NEW ENGLAND. 



193 



The third story of the handsome Washington insurance office build- 
ing, which was occupied by Mount Vernon Lodge, was much injured 
^by being perforated by the bowsprit of the sliip Ganges when she 
was impeluousiy forced up the siream with the otiier vessels. India 
bridge at India point and Mill bridge at the foot of Constitution hill 

iwere also swept from their foundations. Five hundred buildings in 
all, large and small, were destroyed in this gale and flood, which, with 
other property that was lost, were valued at fifteen hundred thousand 
.dollars. 
Beside those persons who were wounded and maimed, many valu- 
able citizens were carried witli their houses into the water, and others 
^ere cni£hed to dealh between the pinnks and the vessels as the latter 
^dashed through the great bridge. No one knows how many human 
^es were lost in Providence, nor how many callle were drowned. Af- 
ter the inundation had subsided, a military force of about three hun- 
dred was stationed there for several days lo prevent pillage of the re- 
fflaining property that was exposed. No business but that in connection 
with the storm could be done for some time, the streets having first 
to be cleared, and then buildings, bridges and wharves rebuilt. 

Providence profited, however, by the great calamity in the general 
improvement of the town. In the place of dilapidated warehouses, 
spacious brick buildings arose, new bridges far surpassing the old ones 
in strength and beautiful design were bnilt, and an elegant and much 
larger church occupied the site of that which had been destroyed. 
Four years after the stonn the greatly improved appearance of the 
place indicated an era of prosperity rather than one of loss and dis- 
aster, in spite of the general inactivity of business that had then pre- 
I vailed for a year or two. 
At Bristol, a short distance from Providence down Narragansett bay, 
Is the vessels were driven a great distance In on the land, and con- 
[iderably injured. There the tide rose seven feet higher than it was 
^er known to ri^e before, and the wharves were completely swept 
pi3.y. The building then occupied by the post office, and several 
llouses and stores were also carried ofl". A long row of brick stores 
on one of the wharves, with their contents, which were very valuable, 
were carried away. A great many trees were also blown down, and 
much other damage done. The grist-mil! at Glenrock village in the 

Ctt country, and at Point Judith the lighthouse were de- 



194 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 



atroyed, the large fishing rocks at the latter place being removed from 
their beds. 

Tlie section of country that suffered next to Providence in amount 
of damage was that around Buzzard's bay in Massachusetts, which 
had the full sweep of the wind. No rain fell there, but the tide was 
eight feet higher than usual, and salt water was driven in on the land 
BO far and in such quantities that it tilled the vegetafion, — grass, In- 
dian corn, potatoes, etc. Wells and springs, the principal sources of 
the people's supply of fresh water, were also rained. Some of the 
fields near the shore were so washed by tlie overflowing tide, or cov- 
ered with sand, that they resembled beaches, and in some places 
where the English grass was killed, wild grasses or clover appeared 
the next year, and still again where only mosses had grown, grass sprang 
Tip, Generally, die land was made better. The salt water killed the 
trees in the cedar swamps along the shore of the bay. Trees and 



buildings were blown down and vessels dri' 



shore by the terrific 



;xcept two, were driven 
One ship was left on 
All the warehouses on 



At New Bedford, all the vessels in the port, i 
ashore, and several of them beaten to pieces. 
a wharf, and another on one of the islands, 
the lower wharves were swept off, many houses being injured, and four 
men and one woman perished. A merchant, by the name of Russell, 
was in his store trying to save some of his property. While lie was 
in the building it floated off its foundation, and he leaped on board 
a vessel that was lying near. He soon discovered that he was in as 
dangerous a place as the floating building, for in a few moments the 
vessel was dashed upon the shore, but he fortunately escaped un- 
hurt. 

The salt-works were swept away by the tide, and those on Mashena 
island were torn to pieces, the fragments being carried into the woods 
of Wareham, where they were afterward found. In one instance, a 
large portion of one of the works floated a distance of several miles 
entire, and then striking a ledge was torn to pieces. One sail-house 
after sailing along several miles foundered in a road nine feet above 
common high-water mark, and was found there standing in its ordi- 
nary position on corner-stones properly adapted to it. The owner 
conveyed it back to its original site. The coasting vessels were not 
only driven ashore, but several of them were found in the adjacent 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW EKCtAND. 



'95 



forest, where they liad been blown on the tide. One was discovered 
in its usual position being supported ou either side by trees, and was 
gotten off with but little damage. Another was driven over a bluff 
and deposited so near a house that tlie front door could not be used. 
Everything movable on the surface of the water in the bay was swept 
from it. 

Some slight damage was done at Falmouth, but in Vineyard sound 
the water was not so much affected by the wind as in Buzzard's bay. 
At Hyaiinis, a brig was driven upon the shore by the wind. At Sand- 
wich, a vessel bound for Newport was dashed furiously against a wharf 
while the captain was endeavoring to enter the harbor of New Bed- 
ford, and a young lady passenger, Wiss Temperance Perry, was 
drowned in spile of the strenuous efforts thai were made to save her. 
Farther out on Cape Cod the wind blew much more moderately, and 
at Provincetown nothing suffered from it. 

Hundreds of vessels other than those mentioned were lost, the 

newspapers of that time saying that they bad not space enough to 

record the marine disasters. At the eastern end of the Connecticut 

coast the storm was almost as severe as in Narragansett or Buzzard's 

bays. At Stonington, the tiile rose seventeen feet higher than usual, 

and swept almost entirely across the town, which is built on a tongue 

of land running into the water. Everything was washed from the 

' wharves, and then the wharves themselves were demolished, Gen- 

, eral disaster prevailed among the twenty vessels in the harbor, every 

t one of which was either driven ashore or sunk. The schooner Ex- 

\ pert, Capt, William Pousland, master, on a trip from Norfolk, Va., to 

■-I Salem, Mass., with a cargo of flour, ran into this port for safety, and 

r was driven ashore, becoming bilged. A new ship belonging to New 

' York was carried up among the houses, and the schooner Waskington, 

\ Capt. Lewis Folsora, master, bound from Cape Francois to Newbury- 

port, which had also put in there for safety, was entirely beaten to 

pieces in the gale, not a single article of the cargo or personal ef- 

I fects being saved. The persons on board, among whom were a lady 

■ and her child, who were passengers, were all saved. A small sloop, 

I which was out from Providence witb a pleasure party, among whom 

1 'Irere His Excellency Governor Jones and Messrs. Brown and Ives, had 

\ also run into Stonington, where it became involved in the general 

destruction of the shipping, though none of the party on board were 



Jq6 historic storms of new ENGLAND. 

lost. A number of dwelling-houses and many other buildings were de- 
stroyed. One man's house, rope-walk and blacksmith s shop, with all 
their contents, were swept away, and his wife, his diughter, his wife's 
mother and a young lady visitor perished in the del ge The fury of 
the powerful elements so changed the appeirance of the place that it 
was hardly recognizable, AVhere there had been girdens and fertile 
fields there were now sandy beaches, and an island with an area of 
several acres, situated a short distance from the town, was so changed 
that only a small rock that was on it could be seen 

At New London, the storm was severe, and the tide rose so high 
that it carried away outhouses and fences, and filled cellars, it never 
having been known to rise there so high before. Entering many brooks 
and wells in the town it made them brackish even as late as October 
4. In Main street the water rose at least three feet, and many trees 
drifted up the street, barricading it. The wharves were almost de- 
molished, that of N. Ledyard being entirely carried away with all the 
goods that were upon it. The store of Mr. Kimball, the stone-cutter, 
together with a considerable nnmberof other buildings near the wharves, 
was also carried off. Almost every vessel in the liarbor was driven 
on shore and stove to pieces. A new brig, belonging to S. Peck, was 
upset and sunk, and a gun-boat, drifting on the rocks, was beaten to 
pieces. 

Across the Thames opposite New London lies Groton. There the 
waves ruined three wharves and some tan works, and by the com- 
bined forces of wind and water two dwelling-houses, three barns and 
other buildings were destroyed. 

The wind forced tlie tide up the beautiful and romandc river so far 
that at Norwich (then known as Chelsea) the water was so high that it 
swept off several stores that were situated on the wharves, and carried 
them out into the river, and several warehouses were damaged more ox 
less. The water rose five or six feet above Wharf bridge, as it was 
called, and beat over it so furiously that it carried away the market- 
house and an adjoinmg store. The market drifted up tlie stream and 
grounded on the east side of the cove, some thirty or forty yards above 
the bridge. The brig Mary and several schooners and sloops were 
driven ashore, in some instances knocking in the sides of the stores 
and lodging almost in the streets of the town. 

No portion of the New England coast north of Cape Cod suffered 



I 



HISTORIC STOKM5 OF P 

from the gale except ihat which lies between Boston and Cape Ann 
in Massachusetts bay. In Boston harbor, some sixty vessels received 
more or less damage, among them being the schooner A'ancy of Salem, 
whose bowsprit was carried away. The schooner Three Brothers of 
Beverly was run into by the ship Ari/fne, which was driven (rem the 
end of Long wharf, and had the whole of her stem above water and 
part of each quarter stove in. Many wrecked vessels were lying at 
the wharves after the gale had subsided, James Colman was drowned 
from the newbrig Washiiij^fon, a son of F. C. Lowell, Escj., was badly 
injured by a boat on board the Borneo, and at the same time a sea- 
man had an arm broken. TTie wind was very severe, being described 
by one writer as "an awful, tremendous blast." Many of the church 
steeples were blown down, and a number of private residences were 
much damaged, losing chimneys, turrets, battlements, slates and 
shingles. Many of the wharves were swept away, and from two hun- 
dred thousand to three hundred thousand feet of lumber were lost. 

At Cambridge port, a schooner was carried up into Main street, two 
houses were blown down, and forty other buildings were unroofed or 
Otherwise injured by the wind. 

At Marblehead, fourteen vessels went ashore and became bilged. 
Seven chimneys on the almshouse were blown down, James Merritt 
being killed by their fall. 

In Salem, the vessels in the harbor escaped damage, but several of 
the buildings in the town were destroyed, the most important being 
the beautiful summer house of E. Hersey Derby on Castle hill, which 
had been a landmark for several years. Chase's oil-mill and several 
small buildings and fences were also destroyed, and more than a dozen 
chimneys were blown down, one of which belonged to the court house. 
A chimney on the house next to the Pickman mansion fel! directly 
over a school room, and crashed its way into the cellar. The school, 
fortunately, had been dismissed a few minutes before, else several of 
the children must have been killed or maimed. A number of orna- 
mental trees were also torn up by the roots. 

At Gloucester, the United States gun-boat numbered seventy -seven, 
the schooner New Packet, Captain Tilden, master, of Daraariscotta, 
Me., the schooner Washington, of Warren, Me., commanded by Cap- 
tain Vose, and a sloop commanded by Captain Blasdell, were all driven 




igS HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

asliore and became bilged. Tlie sloop was ladened with bread for 
the navy department at PoTtsmo\ith, and nearly all tiie cargo was dam- 
aged. A block of unfinished buildings and several stores were blown 
down, and other structures were injured. 

The wind was also severely felt in many other places beside those 
mentioned. In Connecticut, at Plainfield, two churches were blown 
down, and at New Haven the West bridge on the Milford turnpike 
was rendered impassable by the destmction of the causeway on either 
side. The greatest material injury sustained in the town was that done 
to Long wharf, which was entirely inundated, everything on it that 
was movable being swept away. The water in some of the stores was 
two feet deep, but no extraordinary loss of property occurred. 

Several places in Rhode Island, other than those already mentioned, 
suffered great loss. In the village of Pawtucket, sJtualed on the river 
of that name, several houses were carried away, and in one of them 
was a man named Smith, who was drowned. At Nev^ort, all the 
stores on Long wharf were washed off, and a family of five persons 
perished. 

The gale swept across Massachusetts, displaying its greatest energy 
a little east of the centre of the state. On Cape Cod and in the ex- 
treme western part of the state it was felt but slightly. In Plymouth 
county, several barns were blown over, a number of houses were much 
damaged, and a man was killed at Hingham. A greater loss seems 
to have been suffered at Abington. The town historian says that the 
morning there was fair and pleasant, and a stillness, such as precedes 
hurricanes, was noticed. A sailor who had become accustomed to the 
violent winds of the West Indies frequently started as if he were con- 
scions of the approach of one of those unwelcome visitors, and'when 
asked why he did so he replied that there would be a terrific wind 
before the day had passed, for there was a crackling in the air and it 
loomed up as he had noticed it in the tropics before au unusual wind. 
He was not deceived : the sky soon became hazy, the wind fresh- 
ened, and grew stronger and fiercer until it became a hurricane in- 
deed, sweeping almost every movable thing before it. Bams were 
blown down and houses unroofed, some of the buildings being car- 
ried some distance from their foundations, and boards and shingles 
lodged miles away. Hay from the barns was distributed over the 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 199 

whole region, many chimneys on the houses that resisted the gale 
were blown down, and whole orchards and many fences were laid flat. 
The author of the History of Abington says : ** Within two miles of 
where I was several bams were blown completely down, over twenty 
barns and houses were unroofed, roofs being taken off" entirely 
whole, carried to a distance of twenty or thirty rods, and broken to 
pieces." Many of the leading highways there were blocked up for 
several days by prostrate trees and fences, and roads through heavy 
forests were obstructed for several weeks. The driver of the New Bed- 
ford stage, on account of trees falling across the road, was obliged to 
unharness his horses and take them to a place of safety. While he 
was absent his coach was turned over, though he had ballasted it with 
stones. The narrow escape of a Mrs. Dyer from instant death, by the 
thoughtfulness of a young man, is worthy of notice. Having become 
much frightened, she left her house, and stood behind a large apple 
tree. The young man saw her there, and warned her of the danger 
of standing beneath the tree, which was much more liable to be blown 
over than the house. She left the tree and had gone but a few rods 
when it fell prostrate, and she would doubtless have been killed in- 
stantly had she remained there. 

In Norfolk county, the wind was as severe as in any other part of 
Massachusetts, the church at Needham being blown over and several 
persons killed. 

In the neighborhood of Boston, considerable damage was done. At 
Dorchester, seventeen houses and forty barns were unroofed, some of 
the barns being demolished, sixty chimneys were blown down, and 
more than five thousand fruit and other trees were torn up by the roots. 
Th^ South church was also partly unroofed, and the North church 
waj injured so badly that it had to be taken down. In Charlestown, 
the upper story of a large brick building was blown in, the Universa- 
li-t church was partly unroofed, and a portion of the base of the steeple 
on Dr. Morse's church was blown away. In Chelsea, a great elm situ- 
ated near the ferry, measuring seventeen feet in girth, and having 
upon its limbs a portico capable of holding thirty persons, was blown 
down. 

At Newton, many windows were blown in, and a baker, who was 
making his daily calls, had his cart overturned by the wind, and all 



) HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

his gingerbread and other goodies scattered over the ground to v 
delight of the boys, who profited by the disaster. 

At Reading, tlie steeple on Rev. Mr. Emerson's church, and many 
barns and sheds were blown down. Some houses were also damaged, 
and two men were severely injured. A suit at law was being tried on 
that day before John Weston, Esq., in which Deacon Caleb Wake- 
field was a witness. The deacon was captain of the military com- 
pany, and it became necessary for him to produce his commission. 
He went home in the gale to get it, and the wind was so strong that 
on the way his horse was thrown down. Getting him up, he started 
on, and had gone but a short distance when the animal became fright- 
ened at the fall of a ciiimney on Silas Smith's house. Deacon Wake- 
field said that he saw_ sea-gulls, which the wind had driven from the 
ocean, trying to descend into the Quannopowitt, but they failed in 
the attempt, and were carried by the wind out of sight. Eighty thou- 
sand feet of boards were sawn from his timber that was blown down 
by the wind. 

In Essex county, the gale was perhaps the fiercest ever known there. 
Beside the places on the coast that have already been named, others 
suffered. At Newburyport, many buildings were much injured, and 
the beautiful rows of shade trees were nearly all destroyed. In Box- 
ford, a house and several other buildings were blown down. 

The wind was so powerful that persons were lifted bodily from the 
ground and carried some distance. An instance of this kind occurred 
at Boxford. Capt. John Peabody, who is still living and in his eighty- 
sixth year, was nine years of age at the time of the gale, and was re- 
siding in the house now known as the Spiller place, within a few feet 
of which was a milbpond. Hewas standing on the ridge by the edge 
of the water, when the wind took him off his feet and dropped him 
into the pond two or three rods from shore, to his great danger as the 
water was very deep. He was rescued by other members of the family. 

At Wenham, the steeple of the church was blown down, part of it 
falling on a dwelling-house, which it damaged considerably. 

In Danvers, barns, sheds, chimneys, fences and trees were pros- 
trated. Orchards and forests suffered severely, majestic oaks that had 
withstood the tempests of a hundred years being torn up by the roots 
and dashed headlong to the ground. The venerable pear tree that 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 201 

had be^n brought from England by Governor Endecott in 1630 lost 
about half of its branches. 

At Saugus, many houses and barns were damaged, but the greatest 
loss fell upon John Bullard, whose two large barns, one seventy and 
the other fifty feet in length, were blown to pieces and the hay that 
was in them, they being full, was blown away and lost. Two sheds, 
each seventy feet in length, all the back buildings adjoining the farm 
house, and a small house connected with one of the barns were also 
levelled. 

At Worcester, it rained hard from nine to eleven o'clock in the fore- 
noon, and the gale was severely felt. 

We do not find that the wind blew very severely in Vermont. Rain 
fell heavily during Friday night and Saturday forenoon, raising the 
streams in the vicinity of Brattleborough to an unusual height, and 
destroying bridges, dams, and other property. Considerable damage 
was done to the grist-mill in that town. At Newfane, the oil-mill and 
clothing works of Captain Williams, and a grist- and saw-mill owned 
by Deacon Hill were much injured, and a grist-mill owned by D. Nor- 
cross was swept almost entirely away. 

In New Hampshire, it was a rainy day, and the wind blew less se- 
verely than farther south, although for two hours it seemed to threaten 
destruction to every movable thing. Sturdy oaks and stately elms 
yielded to it, many buildings were blown down or unroofed and or- 
chards destroyed, growing crops were considerably damaged, and 
apples were blown "from the trees. At Amherst, several barns were 
demolished, and a number of buildings were unroofed. At Concord, 
the destruction of the forest trees was very extensive, and many cat- 
tle were killed by the trees falling upon them. At Sanbornton, the loss 
was estimated at fifteen thousand dollars. At Portsmouth, the shipping 
was not injured, but the buildings felt the shock severely. 

In Maine, trees were blown down as far east as Wells, where a man 
was killed by a falling tree while travelling in the highway. 

The old people still tell of the wonderful power of this September 
gale, almost every person living in central New England having had 
some interesting personal experiences that they could relate. The 
venerable and ever light-hearted Doctor Holmes was then six years 
old, and in his inimitable style he relates, in his poem entitled *'The 
September Gale," how he was affected by the storm, as follows : — 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

"I'm not a chicken; I have seen 

Full many a chill Seplembec, 
And though I was a ^'uungstcT then, 

That gale I well remember; 
The day before my kitestring snapped, 

And I, my kite pursuing. 
The wind whisked off my palm-leaf bat : — 

Tot me two Elonns were brewing I 



"It came hS quarrels sc 

When married folks get clashing; 
There was h heavy sigh or two. 

Before the hce was flashing; 
A little Elic among tbe clouds. 

Before Ihey rent Hsnnder, — 
A htlle rocking of the trees, 

And then came on the thunder. 



"Ijord I how the ponds and rivers boiled. 

And how the shingles rallied ! 
And oaks were scattered on the groand 

As if the Titans battled; 
And all above was in a howl, 

Aod all below a clatter,— 
The earth was like a frying-pan. 

Or some such hissing matter. 

"It chanced lo be our washing-day, 

And all our things were drying; 
The storm came roaring through the lines. 

And set them all a flying; 
I saw the shirts and pellicoals 

Go rilling off like witches; 
I lost, ah ! bitterly I wept, — 

I lost my Sunday breeches ] 

•^ saw them straddling through the air, 

Alas I too laic lo win them; 
I saw them chase the clouds as if 

The devil had been in them; 
They were my darlings and my pride. 

My boyhood's only riches, — 
Tarewell, farewell,' 1 faintly cried,— 

'My breeches ! O my breeches 1' 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

" That night I saw them in my dreams, 

How changed from what I knew them I 
The dews had steeped (heir faded threads. 

The winds had whistled through them; 
I saw the wide and ghastly rents 

Where demon claws had torn them; 
A hole was in their amplest part. 

As if an imp had worn them. 

"I have had many happy years, • 

And tailors kind and clever. 
But those young pantaloons have gone 

Forever and forever ! 
And not till fate has cut the last 

Of all my earthly stitches, 
This aching heart shall cease to mourn 

My loved, my long-lost breeches !' 



i»» 



CHAPTER LIII. 



The Cold Summer of i8i6. 



THE coldest summer known to have been experienced in New 
England was that of i8i6. Since that time the year has been 
generally called "poverty year," a name given because so many 
of the crops proved a failure and it seemed at the time as if 
nothing would be produced, many of the farmers being brought to 
want. Some have spoken of it as the year of " eighteen hundred 
and froze to death." In NewHampshire but little pork was fattened 
on account of the scarcity r.nd consequent great cost of com, and the 
people used mackerel as a substitute for it. For this reason the name 
given to the year there was "mackerel year." There were frost and 
snow in all the summer months, and in the northwest section of New 
England a severe drought prevailed, which added to the disastrous 
effects of the season. 

Many persons have endeavored to ascertain some cause for the ex- 
traordinary nature of this summer, though no opinion has gained 
much ground. A large number of the people of that time believed 
that ihe large spots which appeared on the sun's disk that spring les- 
sened the number of rays of light and consequently the earth was to 
that extent cooler than usual. The spots were so large that, for the 
first time in their history, they could be seen without the aid of a 
telescope. They attracted a great deal of attention from the common 
people, and their appearance added to the gloom of the season.' 
They were seen by the naked eye for several days, beginning on the 
third of May, and, reappearing on. June 1 1, they were again seen for 
a few days only. 




published the 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 205 

For the most part, April was a dry month, but on the twelfth snow 
fell at Warren, Me., to the depth of several inches, and remained on 
the ground nearly a week, causing good sleighing. In the vicinity of 
Danby, Vt., rains continued through the month, and during the last 
few days of it in other sections of New England the weather was dry, 
fine and warm. 

The rains that the people of Vermont had enjoyed through April 
terminated with the month, being followed by an excessively dry May. 
No other part of northern New England is known to have suffered 

'* All ye wha tell why stars do wink, 

Come ease my fears; 
Wha' means this spat ? that folks maun think 
Sae strange appears : 

" As if wiMn this ball o'flre 

Some haule were dug; 
Or something black had settled there, 

Like ony bug. 

** Some canna' tell, an' some nae care 

Wha' means this creature; 
Whether auld Nick hae put it there, 

Or laws o'nature. 

** A n' some will swear it o'er and o'er, 

Wi* looks fou' furious, 
A comet there hne run ashore, 

Or auld Mercurius; 

" Wha, since this spring, sae coldly blows, 

Hae ventur'd nigher, 
An' there will stick, as lath to lose 

Sae warm a flre. 

" An' ithers think some one supplies 

The sun with food; 
An' sae this spat they wad surmise 

A laud o'wood. 

** An' some will say, wi' dismal fear, 

Auld Nick's broke loose ; 
An' there they've stapt his sly career. 

An' hau'ld him clause. 

* 

** An' some, nae doubt, will tell how 

There is a drought there ; 
An' sae this haule they've dug Just now 

To come at water f* 



306 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. ^^H 

from lack of rain, but in the southern portion of Bristol county, Mass., 
and in Rhode Island and Connecticut refreshing showers had not 
corae to enliven vegetation, and the surface of the grovmd became 
so dry that forest fires of great extent raged in many places. At Dart- 
mouth, Mass., a pile of brush was injudiciously set on fire, and in a 
few hours the fire had spread over several square miles of field and 
forest, destroying fences, trees, etc ., to the amount of twenty thousand 
dollars in value. Near Providence, R. I., more than a thousand acres of 
wood and timber land were set on fire in a sinriilar manner, and every- 
thing growing thereon was destroyed in a few hours' time. Similar 
instances occurred in Oxford, North Haven, Bristol, Derby, and New 
Milford, in Connecticut, resulting in serious loss to owners of wood- 
land and farmers. In nortlieaslem Massachusetts, however, vege- 
tation was as forward as usual. Apricots opened their buds May 3, 
peaches began to blossom, and asparagus to be cut on the fifth, cher- 
ries were in full bloom on the sixth, currants and gooseberries were 
in blossom on the ninth, plums on (he twelfth, and pears began to 
open their blossoms on the thirteenth, the prospect of plentiful 
crops at that time and section being indeed flattering. 

The month was not only dry but unseasonably cold and uncomfort- 
able. At Chester, N.H., on the fifteenth, land that had recently been 
plowed froze hard enough to bear a man, and snow fell in some of the 
northern parts of New England. In the vicinity of Weare, N. H,, 
there were no blossoms on the fruit trees until about the twentieth, 
and on the twenty fourth some rain fell, congealing on the branches, 
buds and blossoms. But in spite of the cold, drought, and general 
backwardness of the season, farmers bravely continued their planting, 
believing that winter always "lingers in the lap of May." Through- 
out the entire summer the weather was the subject of remark. People 
asked themselves and each other, if a change had not come over the 
climate, especially when they heard that in Ohio it had snowed on May 
2z, and on the thirtieth of May there had been frost as far south as 
Virginia. 

June at length came, and although there were some excessively hot 

days in the month, it was as disagreeable as May had been, perhaps 

At Salem, Mass , there were three very hot days, the 

twenty-third of the month, when the thermometer stood at one hundred 

i one degrees above zero, being the hottest day there had been for 




fflSTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 20 7 

ten years. On the fifth of June, the heat was extreme in every part of 
New England, but the next day was uncomfortably cold, and travel- 
lers suffered from the severity of the weather. At Bangor, Me., the 
night of the fifth was so warm that a blanket over one was sufficient 
for warmth, and at Hallowell it was the warmest day of the season. 
At Salem, Mass., soon after noon on the fifth, the temperature was 
ninety two degrees above zero, and the next day at sunset it had 
fallen to forty-three. At Chester, N. H , on the fifth the heat in- 
creased to eighty-eight degrees above zero, and on the next day fell 
to forty. On the morning of the sixth, at the latter place as well as 
in other sections, ice formed to the thickness of an eighth of an inch 
on bodies of standing water. The weather was cold and squally, and 
snow fell in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, and in Cheshire, 
Peru, Windsor and other mountain towns in Massachusetts. In Maine 
the change came suddenly, with squalls from the northwest, and snow 
and hail fell for one and a half hours, the flakes being so large that 
when they struck the ground they spread out two inches and a half in 
diameter. THe frost and cold chilled and killed the martins and other 
birds, and froze the ground, cutting down corn and potatoes, and com- 
pelling workmen to put on great coats and mittens in order to keep 
warm. In Vermont, the snow melted as fast as it fell, but in Massa- 
chusetts it was blown about as in winter. The whole month, in fact, 
was so cold that apple trees, which began to bloom at its commence- 
ment were not out of blossom at its close, and the yellow cucumber 
bug was so effectually destroyed that it was not seen again in its old 
resorts for ten years. 

Snow fell again on the seventh of June sufficient to cover the 
ground at Newton, Mass., and at Hopkinton, N. H., it was four 
inches deep on a level. Snow also fell in Hallowell, Me. 

At Salem, Mass., on Saturday, the eighth, there was a slight fall of 
snow, but it was not deep enough to make good sleighing. Along 
the northern portion of Massachusetts, large icicles were pendent, and 
the foliage of the forest trees was blasted by the frosts. Snow fell that 
morning at Hallowell, Me., for three hours, the wind being about 
west-southwest. At VVaterbury, Vt., snow began to fall on Friday 
night, and continued on Saturday forenoon until it was of a consider- 
able depth in many places. In Williamstown, it was twelve inches 



3f>S. HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

deep, and in Cabot eighteen inches. Joseph Walker, an old gentle- 
man of eighty-eight years, lost himself in the woods at Peacham in the 
snowstorm on the night of the seventh, and remained there through 
the night, his feet becoming so severely frost-bitten that it was neces- 
sary toamputate one of his great toes. The oldest inhabitants did not 
recollect such an extraordinary cold June as this. On the morning of 
the eighth, there were drifts of snow on many of the hills in and 
around Montpelier, and on the mountains it was more than a foot deep. 
No one in that region remembered to have seen snow on the earth in 
June before. A person writing from that place at the time said, "This 
part of the country, I assure you, presents a most dreary aspect, great 
coats and mittens are almost as generally worn as in January, and file is 
indispensable," Many slieep perished with the cold, birds flew into 
houses for shelter, and great numbers of them were found dead in the 
fields. Throughout Maine, vegetation seemed to have been suspended, 
and nature presented a most dreary appearance. Even in Berkshire 
county, Mass., the foliage was killed by frost over a considerable por- 
tion of the higher lands so that for several days the woods appeared 
to have suffered from fire. 

'The trees were all leafless, the roountaiiis wetc brown, 
The face uf the country vfts scnlhed with a frown. 
And bleak were the hills, and the foliage sere, , 

As had never been seen that time of the year." 

On the morning of Sunday, the ninth, at Chester, N. H., the ther- 
mometer stood at thirty-seven degrees above zero, and at Salem, 
Mass., ice was drawn from a well at the toll-house on the turnpike 
after sunrise. The next morning there was frost again at Salem, and 
it was so severe at Montpelier, Vt., that it killed the foliage of the 
trees. At Hallowell, Me., the earth was frozen half an inch deep, 
and ice was observed to be a quarter of an inch thick, being strong 
enough on some of the mud puddles to bear a man. A great variety 
of birds, among them being the humming-bird, the yellow bird, the 
martin, and the beautifiil scarlet sparrow, were so benumbed that they 
allowed themselves to be taken in the hand, and great numbers of 
them actually perished with the cold. The coniinued frost? rendered 
tbe prospect gloomy lo the husbandman. " Still," says the author of 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 






b 
b 



llstoiy of Henniker, N. H., "the strong- hearted, industrious men 
and women of the town toiled on bravely, trusting and hoping that 
brighter days were in store for them, and in God's own time would be 
theirs ; and they waited not in vaJJi." 

On the morning of Tuesday, the eleventh, there was a heavy white 
frost in the northern part of New England, and it was so severe is 
Berkshire county, Mass., that vegetables in gardens were destroyed, 
and Indian com was cut down to the ground, though it started up 
again after a few days. During ihe day the wind changed to the south, 
and the weather became warm and pleasant. In several sections of 
New England the drought that began in May still continued. At 
Weare, N, H., on the eighteenth, there was a refreshing summer rain, 
which was again followed by cold, windy and dry weather. On the 
twenty- second, there was ice in James Wason's tanyard at Chester, 
N, H. It was so cold that at Gilmanton, N. H., the men who were 
engaged in hoeing com often repaired to the house to warm them- 
selves, and some wore overcoats and mittens at their work. On that 
date, however, at Salem, Mass., the weather had greally moderated, 
and the thermometer indicated ninety-three degrees above zero. The 
next day it was one hundred and one, and on the twenty- fourth, one 
hundred. The heat started vegetation into astrongand rapid growth 
in spite of the dryness of the earth. * 

Strange as it may seem, there were frosts in northern New England 
in July, which did considerable injury to crops, and in Amherst, 
N. H., snow fell. On July 8, the frost was so severe at Franconia, 
N, H., that it cut off all the beans. At Warren, Me., on that day and 
also on the next, when corn was being hoed for the first time, the 
frost cut it down again ; and in the latter part of the month it had not 
spindled out. July lo, there was frost in the low land at Chester, 
N. H. On the seventeenth, there was an abundant fall of rain in the 
northwestern part of Massachusetts, and in New Hampshire and Ver- 
mont, and all the small grains in those parts, especially rye and barley, 
then seemed to promise a heavy yield. In eastern Massachusetts, 
large quantities of grass were cut that week, the crop being greater than 
it had averaged for the preceding ten years. During the week the 
appearance of Indian corn greally improved, the crop of potatoes 
• promised to be heavy, and a newspaper of that vicinity said that vege- 
tables were free from blemish. The fruits were also in great abun- 




J 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW 



dance, and possessed of fine flai 



The cold weatlier had indeed 



n sucli insects, now resorted for sustenance 



annihilated 

others, which usually feed i 

to cherry trees and pea vines. 

In Massachusetts, however, July was a warm month. At Salem, on 
the evening of the twentieth, was a plentiful rain, which was followed 
the next day by bright sunshine, giving a new freshness to the fields. 
On the twenty-eighth, raJn fell incessantly for six hours, the greater 
part of the time pouring down in such quantities that the water ran 
along the streets in torrents. Much thunder and lightning accompanied 
it. The earth never looked fresher, nor the grass greener, and the 
warm sunlight produced a new spring. In Vermont, however, the 
drought still continued. 

In August, there was frost, and at Amherst, N. H., snow fell. In 
Maine, haying was begun in the first week of the month, and the crop 
was so light everywhere in that region that farmers sought substitutea 
for hay, some using potato tops, mowed and dried while they were 
succulent. 

To the twentieth of the month the weather had been warm and 
pleasant, but on that day squalls occurred in New Hampshire, rain 
falling at Chester, and snow on the mountains at Goffstown, At 
Keene, the change in temperature on that day was greater than had 
ever been observed in this variable climate. On tlie night of the 
twenty-first, there was a frost, which at Keene and at Chester, N, H., 
killed a large part of the corn, potatoes, beans and vines, and also in- 
jured many crops in Maine. It was felt as far south as Boston and 
Middlesex county in eastern Massachusetts, and in the western por- 
tion of the state as far as Stockbridge, where it injured vegetation. The 
mountains in Vermont were now covered with snow, and the atmos- 
phere on the plains was unusually cold. In Keene, N. H., the oldest 
personsthenlivingsaid that they never sawsuch aseverefrost in August. 
It put an end to the hopes of many farmers of ripening their com, es- 
pecially in the low lands, and they immediately cut the whole stalks 
up for fodder, but being in the milk it heated in the shocks and 
spoiled. By the twenty-ninth cf the month the frost had reached 
as far south as Berkshire county, Mass., where it killed the Indian 
com in many of the fields in the low lands. The farmers there saved 
much of it by cutting it up at the roots and placing it in an upright 




position, where it ripened upon the juices of the stalks. If frost had 
kepi off two weeks longer there would have been a very good crop of 
com in Massachusetts. 

On September ii, two or three inches of snow fell at Springfield, 

I Mass., and the Vermont mountains had then been covered wilh snow 
for several days. At Hartford, Conn ., the next day, tliere was a rain 
storm continuing for twelve hours, and it was as cold as it usually is 
in November, with the wind blowing from the northeast. In the 
neighborhood of Halloweli, Me., on the twentieth, frost killed the com 
and injured potatoes in low grounds. In New Hampshire, toward 
the last of the month occurred four of the greatest frosts ever known. 
At sunrise, on the twenty-sixth, the thermometer indicated twenty- three 
degrees above zero, the twenty -seventh and twenty-eighth, twenty 
degrees, and on the twenty-ninth, twenty-five degrees. The small 
crop of com and potatoes that the drought had spared was destroyed. 
These frosts were also very heavy in central Massachusetts, and In- 
dian com, which was then mostly in the milk, was much injured. Be- 
fore the month closed snow fell at Boston, Mass., and in Wlscasset, 
Me., for several hours. 

I The drought was still severely felt in Vermont, there havingbeen no 

I tain of any consequence there for one hundred and twenty days. The 
failure of the crops seemed certain. It was one of the most discour- 
aging features of the summer. Devastating fires swept through the 
woods of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. In New Hampshire, 
Giimanton, Guilford, Alton, Barnstead, Grafton, Rochester, and other 
towns, suffered severely from them, and in Maine, along the Kenne- 
bec river, and as far east as Frenchman's bay, they were burning as 
bte as October ii. In Paris, Me., a dwelling-house and two bams 
were destroyed by the fires. In some places, the atmosphere was so 
fiDed with smoke that the sun could not be seen for a considerable 
time. 

In New Hampshire, the drought continued, except for a few showers, 
until October 22, when there was a heavy rain. In the vicinity of 
Haverhill, however, on the night of the seventeenth, snow fell to the 
depth of twelve inches, and the next day there was sleighing. 

The crops of rye and other small grains were excellent, though but 
little wheat had been sown in New Hampshire and Maine, on account 

g of the previous unfavorable fall and spring. Few potatoes had been 



Hl of the previc 



I 

I 



aiS HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

planted for the same reason. In Massachusetts the potato crop was 
large and the tubers were of good quality, but in the northern states 
the crop was very light. A very small com crop was produced in the 
northern stales, though in some parts of Massachusetts it was nearly 
an average crop, and in other portions of the state not more than an 
eighth of the usual quantity. But a small proportion of that which 
was raised was fit to shell, being as the farmers of New Hampshire 
called it all "pig com." In some sections the hay crop was good 
while in others only about half the usual amount was produced. In 
Massachusetts, apples were plentiful and of good quality. The weather 
had not been extreme in Rhode Island and Connecticut, the season 
was somewhat backward, but the crops were not so materially af- 
fected as they were farther north- 
There was great destitution among the people the next winter and 
spring. The farmers in some instances were reduced to the last ex- 
tremity, and many cattle died. The poorer men could not buy corn 
at the exorbitant prices for which it was sold. 

In the autumn, stock was sold at extremely low prices on account 
of lack of hay and corn, a pair of four-year-old cattle being bought for 
ithirty-nine dollars in Chester, N. H. 

Some favored spots in the northern New England states produced 
.a little com for seed, which commanded a great price the following 
spring. Abraham Sargent, jr., had removed from Randolph, Vt., to 
his father's farm in Chester, N. H., and brought with him a very early 
kind of corn. He raised a crop of tolerably sound com which he 
sold for seed the following spring at four dollars per bushel, and the 
farmers esteemed it a great favor to obtain it at that price even. 

The next spring hay was sold in New Hampshire in a few instances 
as high as one hundred and eighty dollars per ton, its general price, 
however, being thirty dollars. The market price of com was two 
dollars per bushel ; wheat, two dollars and a half ; rye, two dollars ; 
oals, ninety-two cents ; beans, three dollars ; butter, twenty-five cents 
per pound ; and cheese, fifteen cents. In Maine, potatoes were sev- 
enty-five cents per bushel, the price in the spring of 1816 having been 
forty cents, which was the usual price. Pumpkin seeds were sold in 
Massachusetts for one dollar per hundred, and other seeds propor- 
tionately. Fine crops of Indian corn were raised for many successive 
■years following this .cold summer of 1S16. 



1 



I 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 213 

Ever since that cold year, old people have continued to tell about 
its unfruitfulness, and some of their stories were exaggerated as stories 
will become by repetition. For example, Jacob Carr of Weare, N. H., 
used to boast of the large crop of potatoes that he raised that year, 
and said that he did not get less than five hundred bushels to the 
acre, and that he never allowed one to be picked up that was smaller 
than a tea-kettle. 



CHAPTER LIV. 

The Tornadoes of September g, tSli. 

ON the afternoon of Sunday, September 9, 1821, occurred two 
famous tornadoes, one in New Hampshire and the other in Massa- 
chusetts. It is claimed that they were Lwobranches of a tornado 
that originated at Lake Champlain, and becaine divided, one branch 
proceeding easterly and the other southeasterly. The easterly section 
crossed the Connecticut river at Cornish, N. H., and the southeasterly 
one rushed into Massachusetts where the states of Vermont, New 
Hampshire and Massachusetts meet, neither of them, however, com- 
ing near enough to the earth to do much damage until the Connect- 
icut river was reached. It is not known that these tornadoes were 
noticed west of the Connecticut river, unless the whirlwind which 
passed through the town of Berlin, Vt., in an easterly direction, on 
the same afternoon, was the beginning of them. There, its course 
was marked for two miles by potato tops, bushes and brakes, which 
it twisted off near the ground. It crossed Onion river, raising the 
water in a body, like an ocean water-spout, about the diameter of a 
barrel. 

Whether or not the Connecticut river had anything to do with caus- 
ing the wind to descend to the earth, is an interesting question. Both 
branches of the tornado were, perhaps, the most terrible that were ever 
known in New England. Pen cannot describe the desolation they made, 
destroying crops and trees, demolishing buildings of all kinds, and 
killing persons and animals. 

The Sunday on which the tornado occurred was warm, the air was 
balmy, and the sun shone brightly. During the afleraoon there was 
a breeze from the southwest, and the air was hot and sultry. At about 
five o'clock dark thunder clouds gathered in the northwest and soon 
overspread the sky. The stillness that usually precedes a storm was 
soon interrupted by mutterings of distant thunder, and the clouds grew 
Cai4) 



HISTORIC ETORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 215 

darker. Livid lightning lit u^j the black, angry masses, and in some 
localities rain fell. This continued for a brief period, however, and 
at about half-past five, the wind having suddenly changed to the 
north, as the sky cleared, a peculiar looking cloud was seen in the 
northwest about ten degrees above the horizon. It was brassy in color, 
dense and portentous, and small clouds from all directions ruslied to 
it. As it approached, there was seen suspended from it a cylinder of 
very dense vapor, in the form of an inverted cone, or, as some called 
it, a trumpet with the small end downward, or hke the trunk of an 
immense elephant, hanging down from the heavens. It moved along 
steadily and majestically, and from it came incessantly flames or sheets 
of lightning like liquid fire, and frightful peals of thunder. It was a 
sight sufficient to strike terror to the hearts of the beholders, and 
those that witnessed it never forgot it. The nearer it came the grander 
and more awful it seemed. It whirled with great rapidity, bending 
round and round in a serpentine form, and the wind within it roared 
with increasing vigor and vehemence. It was distincdy heard several 
miles away on either side of its course. Some thought it would do 
no damage, but it generally excited most fearful apprehensions, al- 
. though no one had any adequate conception of what it was able to 
accomplish. People listened and held their breath in silence as the 
awful cloud came nearer and nearer, fearful that their houses might 
lie within its track. The relief of those that escaped was great, though 
they were sorry for their neighbors whom theybeheved mt:st have suf- 
fered from its terrible ravages. At last, the great arm was let down to 
the earth, which shook under the wind's terrible force for two or three 
miles. An instant later it burst upon the terror-stricken inhabitants, 
and in another was gone. There was no time to meditate on means 
of safety, or to escape, as the wind travelled more than a mile a minute. 
The horror of those moments to the people living in the track of 
the tornado cannot be imagined. They were caught up, their houses 
I dashed to pieces, and almost everything movable was whirled into the 
, air and torn apart. The people were indeed taught of the irresist- 
ible power that Omnipotence holds in his hands, and the utter impo- 
tence of man and all his works. The track of the wind appeared as 
if a mighty stream had been pouring down for many days, buildings, 
fences, trees and all things were swept away, the earth was torn up 
in places, grass withered, and nothing fresh or living was to be seen. 




axs 



' NEW ENGLAND. 



Desolation was certainly in its path. The wind was felt, and hail fell 
in adjoining towns on either side of the track of the tornado. Though, 
the sun was yet an hour high, there was almost total darkness in the 
space covered by the cloud while it was passing over, and the air was 
filled with gravel, leaves and fragments of trees. At some places a 
little water fell, probably not rain, as some writers have said, but water 
that had been taken from ponds and streams which the tornado had 
passed over. It was said that the water in a small pond in Warner, 
N. H., was lowered about three feet, and the water in Sunapee lake 
appeared to be rushing up toward the heavens. 

TJie width of the tornado's track was from six rods to half a mile, 
varying with the height of the cloud, which rose and fell. It was much 
wider on high grounds than on low, and the deeper the valley the 
narrower it became. Its force, however, increased when it became 
more compact. 

Entering the state at Cornish, the New Hampshire branch of the 
tornado passed easterly of Grantham mountain in Croydon, then over 
Sunapee, Sunapee lake, a part of New Jjandon, and Sutton, tlieo over 
the west branch or spur of Kearsarge mountain, wliich caused it to 
take a course more southerly, and over Kearsarge gore (which was a 
part of the town of Warner), then over another spur of the mountain 
into the easterly part of Warner, touching a comer of Salisbury, and 
into the woods of Boscawen, where it was hfted from the earth, its 
havoc ceasing. 

In Cornish, the wind caused much devastation in the woods. At 
Croydon, beside other damage, it injured the house of Deacon Copper, 
and blew down his barn, scattering its contents. The course of tlie 
tornado was then turned to the east-southeast, and its path was very 
narrow as it went over the lowlands. 

The next town that the tornado entered was Sunapee (which was 
then called Wendell) . There it did a large amount of damage, de- 
stroying trees and buildings. The residence of Harvey Huntoon, sit- 
uated about eighty rods from Lake Sunapee, was in the track of the 
wind. The family saw the cloud as it approached, and were alarmed 
at its appearance. As it came nearer they saw that the air was filled 
with birds and broken boughs of trees, and they became frightened. 
Mr. and Mrs. Huntoon were standing in the kitchen as the terrible 
cloud swooped down upon them. In an instant, the house, two bams 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLANT). 



17 



I 



. and some outbuildicigs were demolished, and their contents swept 
away. One side of tlie house fell upon Mr. and Mrs, Huntoon, but 
the next moment it was snatched away and dashed to atoms. They 
both escaped without injury, although Mrs. Huntoon was carried across 
a field by the raging wind. Their baby, eleven months old, was 
asleep upon a feather bed in the western part of the house, and the 
wind took the child and the Led, dropped the child in Sunapee lake, 
carried the bed to the town of Andover, and the bedstead into the 
woods, eighty rods away in a northerly direction from the house. The 
mangled body of the child was found the next Wednesday on the op- 
posite (western) side of the lake, where it had lloated, and the dress tiiat 
it had worn when it was snatched so ruthlessly from its peaceful bed, 
was picked up on the shore of the lake one hundred and fifty rods 
away. The other seven members of Mr. Huntoon's family were in- 
jured, some of them severely. A Mrs. Wheeler was living in another 
part of the house, and when the cloud approached she took a child 
that was with her, and fled to the cellar for protection, but was some- 
what injured by falling bricks and timbers. Bricks were blown more 
than a hundred rods, and pieces of the frame of the house, seven 
and eight inches square and twelve feet long, were carried eighty rods. 
A bureau was blown across the lake, a distance of two miles, and with 
the exception of the drawers, was found half a mile beyond the water. 
Other pieces of furniture, casks and dead fowls were carried to a much 
greater distance, and a large iron pot was found seven rods away. A 
pairof wheels was separated from the body of a cart, carried sixty rods, 
and dashed to pieces, one of tiiem having only two spokes left in it. 
The only furniture found near the house was a kitchen chair. Beside 
these, other wonderful feats were accomplished by the wind. From 
the buildings the land rises about one hundred feet in a distance of 
fifty rods, and then descends on the other side of the hill to the lake. 
A horse was blown up this rise a distance of forty rods, and was so 
much injured that he had to be killed, A door-post of Mr. Huntoon's 
bam, measuring eight by twelve inches, and thirteen feet in length, 
was carried up the hill a distance of forty-four rods. A hemlock log, 
sixty feat long, three feet in diameter at tlie butt, and nearly two feet 
at the top, was removed from its bed in the earth, where it had lain 
since the gale of September 23, 1815, and carried by the wind six 
rods up the hill, passing on the way over two rocks, which were only 



I since the gak 

^^K rods up the hi 



J 



SIS 



STORMS OF NEW 



I 
I 



six feet from the place where the log was taken, each being seventeen 
inches high. It thensiruck a rock, and was broken into two parts. 
The rise of the land in the six rods was ten and a half feet. Not only 
were orchards destroyed, but some of the larger trees were torn up 
and carried from seventy to a hundred rods. After leaving the farm 
of Mr. Huntoon, the tornado proceeded a hundred rods further and 
blew down every tree in a tract of timber land of forty acres in area- 
No human lives were lost in Sunapee, except that of Mr. Huntoon'a 
child. 

The tornado then passed over the northwestern end of Lake Sun- 
apee, its pillar of cloud foaming and writhing as it plowed its way to 
the very bottom of the lake, drawing up the water as it went. The 
cloud's appearance was most grand and terrifying. It was about 
twenty rods in diameter at the surface of the water, and expanded as 
it rose toward the heavens. It was quite black, but was occasionally 
illuminated by the most vivid flashes of lightning. Parallel to the 
shore of the lake was a stone wall, which the tornado struck, scatter- 
ing the stones at various distatices. Some that weighed seventy 
pounds were carried more than two rods up a rise of at least four 
feet in that distance. The shore of the lake was literally covered 
with timbers, boards, shingles, broken articles of furniture, and the 
fragments of demolished buildings, that had fallen from the cloud into 
the water and been washed ashore. 

On leaving the lake the tornado entered the town of New London, 
where it did considerable damage, though no lives were lost, as few 
houses were in its track. It passed over the southerly part of the 
town, destroying first the two-story house, barn and the wood-house 
of John Davis. Not a timber or a board was left upon the ground 
where the house had stood, and not a brick in the chimney remained 
in the place where it was when the wind struck the house. All the 
fiimiture, beds, bedding and clothing that were in the house were 
swept away, and lost, A huge hearthstone weighing seven or eight 
hundred pounds was removed from its bed and turned up on its edge. 
Three barns belonging to Josiah Davis, with their contents, were blown 
entirely away, and his house was also much damaged. Lt. Jonathan 
Herrick's house was unroofed, the windows broken out, and a part of 
the furniture and clothing in the house blown away, but none of 
the family were injured. The frame of a new two-story house, which 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 2lg 

was nearly covered, belonging to Nathan Herrick, together with his 
two bams, was blown down. A house and a barn of Asa Gage were 
unroofed, and two sheds carried away. Anthony Sargent had one 
bam demolished, another unroofed, and two sheds blown to pieces. 
Dea. Peter Sargent had one bam blown down, another unroofed, and 
a shed destroyed. A house belonging to the widow Harvey was un- 
roofed, and a barn of J. P. Sab in was shattered. Levi Harvey's bam 
was blown into fragments, his saw-mill demolished, and his grist-mill 
moved some distance, being left on dry land. His hog-house, in 
which was a hog weighing three or four hundred pounds, was car- 
ried several rods entire, and dropped on the top of a stone wall, 
where it fell to pieces, releasing the hog, which, with a grunt of satisfac- 
tion at his freedom, walked away uninjured. Some twelve thousand 
feet of boards were blown away from the mill-yard of Mr. Harvey, and 
a few of them were found in the Shaker village in Canterbury, thirty 
miles away. A pair of cart wheels, strongly bound with iron and nearly 
new, together with the tongue and axle to which they were attached, 
were carried ten rods, the tongue being broken off in the middle, and 
all the spokes but two taken from one wheel, and more than half 
knocked out of the other. One writer says that two more houses were 
destroyed and two others injured, that a cider-mill was demolished and 
three sheds other than those already mentioned, were damaged. One 
cow was killed, and several others hijured. Eight orchards were utterly 
swept away, most of the trees being wrenched out of the ground by 
the roots. The trunk of one of these trees, liivested of its principal 
roots and branches, was found half a mile away, at the top of a long 
hill. A piece of timber, apparently part of a beam of a bam, ten 
inches square, and ten or twelve feet long, was carried up the same 
hill for a distance of a quarter of a mile. Near the top of the hill was 
found an excavation some forty feet long, and in places from two to 
three feet deep, partly filled with broken boards and timbers, having 
been made apparently by the fall of a side of a barn that must have 
been blown whole at least a quarter of a mile, A birch tree, whose 
tmnkwas ten inches in diameter, was blown across the lake (which 
was at that place nearly two miles wide) to apoint ten or twelve rods 
beyond. But the most wonderful feat of the wind there was the rend- 
ing of a large rock one hundred feet long, fifty feet wide, and twenty 
feet high, into two pieces, which were thrown twenty feet apart. The 
space covered by the wind in New London was about one-fourth of 



J 



I 



S30 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

a mile wide and four miles long. In that area the timber on three has* 
dred and thirty acres of woodland was blown down, and this loss, 
together with the destruction of buildings and crops, amounted to ten 
thousand dollars. 

The wind then passed through Sutton, where considerable injury 
was done, though the country was sparsely settled, and few houses 
were in its path. It then passed over Kearsarge mountain at a point 
about two miles south of the highest peak, and swept down the steep 
descent into the valley on the other side, known as Kearsarge gore, 
which is in the town of Warner. In tlie valley were seven dwelling- 
houses. The people could not see the cloud until it was driving down 
upon them with the velocity of lightning. The first building that waa 
struck was the barn of William Harwood, which was instantly carried 
away. Then the wind injured the houses of F. Goodwin, J. Ferrin 
and Abner Watkins, completely destroyed Mr, Ferrin's bam, and un- 
roofed that of Mr. Watkins. Five barns were utterly demolished. 

The first house that was struck by the terrible tornado was that of 
Daniel Savory, and after the wind had passed only part of the floor 
and some bricks remained to mark the site. Seven persons were ia 
tlie house : Mr. Savory's parents, himself and wife, and their three 
children. His father Samuel Savory, who was an old man of seventy- 
two, saw the cloud as it came over the mountain,|and, supposing it to 
contain wind, went into one of the chambers to close a window, his 
son's wife starting to assist liim. While he was shutting the window, 
the tornado struck the house, whirled it around and lifted it into the air, 
demolishing it in a moment. The old gentleman was carried six rods, 
and dashed head foremost upon a rock, being killed instantly. The 
other six persons were covered by the ruins. Mrs. Elizabeth Savory, 
wife of Samuel, though badly bruised by timbers that had fallen across 
her person, extricated herself and assisted the rest of tiie family from 
under the debris. She was hardly able to move, yet she had the most 
surprising strength in removing the timbers and bricks beneath which 
could be heard the cries of the sufferers. Mrs. Mary Savory, wife of 
the son Daniel, was bruised on head, arms and breast, and she still 
held her infant child, which had been killed by a falling timber while 
it lay in her arms. The other children, Laura Little, Leonard N. and 
Jesse, were also much injured. AUof Mr. Savory's buildings, furniture, 
implements, wagons, fruit trees and crops were swept away. 

A few rods &om the house of Daniel Savory stood that of his 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 321 

brother Robert Savory, which was also entirely destroyed. In it were 
eight persons, one an infant, and all of them were buried beneath the 
ruins. They were all much bruised and wouniled, but none danger- 
ously. Mrs, Abigail Savory, Robert's wife, saw the cloud, and went 
into a bedroom to take up a child, and knew nothing more until pain 
brought her to her senses. She found herself confined under some 
timbers, greatly bruised, but the child was unharmed. Their other 
children, Levi, Isaac and George, were much hurt. Mr, Savory was 
entirely buried in the bricks, with the exception of his head, being 
much injured, and two of Ihe children were completely covered with 
aplinlers and other dfibris. Two girls, Charlotte and Ruth Goodwin, 
were in the house at the time, and were also hurt, Mr, Savory, as 
well as his brother, lost the whole of his property. 

Passing on, the wind tore up everything in its couree. Buildings were 
not only levelled, but shattered into small fragments which, with the 
contents were spread abroad for a mile in every direction. The farming 
ntensils, carts, wagons, sleighs, ox-sleds and plows, many of which 
were new and strong, were carried from twenty to sixly rods and 
dashed into pieces small enough for fire-wood. Ten hives of bees 
were destroyed, and legs, wings and heads of domestic fowls were 
torn from tlieir bodies. Several acres of corn and potatoes adjacent 
to the buildings were swept down, hardly an ear of corn being left. 
Stone walls were levelled, and rocks weighing from two to five hun- 
dred pounds and iialf buried in the earth were turned out of llieir beds, 
being carried several feet. A bridge, made of targe oak logs, split in 
halves, instead of planks, was torn u p, and some of the timbers carried 
for ten rods in the direction from whicii the wind came, others sixty 
rods in the direction it went, others still were dropped near the mar- 
gin of the stream to the right and left, A hemlock log, sixty feet long, 
lying half buried in the ground, was taken from its bed and carried 
six rods forward, while a knot from the same log was carried fifteen 
paces backward and driven with great force two feet under the sward. 
In one instance, at least, one large hemlock log, sixty-five feet long, 
lying across another one that measured forty feet in such a posi- 
tion that it was thought that ten yoke of oxen could not have moved 
the lower one from its bed ; but both were removed by the wind to the 
distance of about twelve feet and left in the same position. Near 
the rock where old Mr. Savory was killed, an elm tree, whose trunk 




I 



2ZS HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW 

was seventeen inches in diameter, the roots being too deeply em- 
bedded to yield, was twisted like a. withe to the ground, and was thrown 
across the path like a wilted weed. A few ash trees were stripped of 
their bark and limbs, and were literally made into basket stuff. Not 
an apple or forest tree was left standing. The power of the wind was 
BO great that one barn was taken up whole, with its contents of hay, 
grain, etc., and after being carried several rods, came to pieces, its 
fragments flying like feathers in every direction. 

Half a mile from the Savory houses up a rise of the hill lived John 
Palmer. He was out at his door when the tunnel-shaped cloud came 
over the mountain, filling the air in its path with trees, branches, etc. 
He immediately attempted to enter the house, but the wind forced 
the door to, catching his arm, and at the same instant the house was 
caught in the vortex of the tornado. The chimney gave way, and a 
part of the frame buried Mrs. Phebe Palmer, wife of the owner of the 
house, under the bricks and timbers, as she was trying to force open 
the door that held her husband. She was considerably injured, but 
the rest of the family escaped with slight wounds. 

The tornado then passed over a spur of the mountain, a distance of 
two miles from Palmer's house, and swooping down on the other side 
about a hundred feet, violently swept away the house and other build- 
ings of Peter Flanders. The house was so located tmder the moun- 
tain that the family bad no intimation of the horrible event that was 
to befall them before the ruin was wrought and the death-dealing arm 
had carried two of the nine persons th.-it were in the house into eter- 
nity. All die inmates were more or less injured, Mr. Flanders was 
dangerously wounded, and his wife was almost as seriously hurt. For 
several days his life was despaired of, but he finally recovered. Their 
daughter Mary's arm was broken, and she was otherwise somewhat 
bruised. The widow Colby, who was there, was also injured. Mr. 
Flanders' daughter Phebe, only tliree years old, was carried from the 
house on her bed, asleep, but was badly hurt, and another child named 
True, was slightly injured. Lorn Hamah, a girl that lived in the fam- 
ily, was severely hurt. One of the number killed was Mr. Flanders' 
infant child, and the other Miss Anna Richardson. Nearly everything 
that Mr. Flanders possessed, buildings, furniture, crops, etc., was 
destroyed. 

A few rods from the Flanders house, over the town line in a corner 




of Salisbury, lived Joaepli Tnie.' Seven persons were in tlie house 
when the wind struck it, and all of them, except two children, were 
wonderfully preserved, Mrs. True's parents, bearing the name of 
Jones, who lived about half a mile away, were there on a visit, and 
the family had just left the tea table. Mr. True and Mr. Jones were 
at the (iuor, and seeing the ominous cloud, thought at first that, as 
they were sheltered by the hill, it would pass over without harming 
thera, but they were soon convinced that its track was marked with 
desolation. Mr. True gave an alarm to his family, then ran under 
one end of his shop, which stood a few paces from the door of the 
house just one side of the path of the tornado, and therefore was pre- 
served. Mr, Jones stood still til) the wind struck the barn a few rods 
to the northwest of him, awd he saw the fragments of it Hying thick in 
the air above him, then threw himself upon the ground by a pile of 
heavy wood. A moment later a rafter fell endwise close to hira, en- 
tering the ground to the depth of one or two feet, the other end fall- 
t ing on the pile of wood and protecting him from a beam that grazed 
f down upon the rafter immediately after, and lay at his feel, but he 
was unharmed. Of the new, strong house, not a timber remained 
upon the foundation. It was biown into fragments, which were scat- 
tered over a. wide extent of territory. Tlie cellar stairs, even, were 
carried away, and the liearth, which was made of the brick tiles of the 
■ period, eight inches square, was removed. The bricks of the chim- 
I ney were scattered along the ground for some distance, partly covering 
Mrs. True a foot in depth. The oven in the chimney had been 
heated, and some browji bread was being baked when the tornado 
struck the house. The bricks were hot, and Mrs. True was badly 
burned by them. Mrs. Jones was also burned. Of the children, Ca- 
leb and Joseph were wounded, and Mary Sally was greatly bruised 
and burned. Piercing shrieks and cries from two others, who were 
ten or twelve years old, called their father to a pile of hot bricks, which 
he removed as quickly as possible, burning his fingers to the bone in 
I doing so, and they were taken out alive, but suffering intensely from 
burns and bruises. One of them was so disfigured as hardly to be 
known, and after suffering extremely for several weeks died. All the 
persons of the household were now accounted for except the baby, 
who was only seven weeks old. Where was the luile one? We can 




934 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEVV ENGLAND. ^^^^B 

imagine the anguish of the father's heart when we learn that although 
his hands were already burned to the bone lie began to remove other 
piles of bricks supposing that the child was under them. But his 
efforts were fruitless. A few moments later, from the direction of the 
wind came a faint, baby cry, which was responded to most alertly by 
all who could nin. The lost one was soon found lying safe upon the 
ground underneath a sleigh bottom about ten rods from the site of the 
house. When the wind struck the buildings the sleigh was in the barn, 
which stood six or eight rods north or northwesterly from the house ; 
and it is an interesting coincidence that the child and the sleigh 
should meet at exactly the same place. The top of the sleigh couid 
not be found. The materials of the buildings were not simply sep- 
arated, but broken, splintered and reduced to kindling, and scattered 
like chaff over the region. It was the same with beds and bedding, 
bureaus, chairs, tables, etc. A loom was to all appearances carried 
whole about forty rods, and then dashed in pieces. Nearly all Mr. 
True's properly was destroyed. He saw one of his trees whirling in 
the air perpendicularly at an immense height. One or two other un- 
occupied buildings in the neighborhood were somewhat injured. 

The tornado then passed into Warner again, tearing down a bam. 
It went over a pond, the waters of which seemed to be drawn up into 
the centre of the cloud. When the tornado reached the woods of 
Boscawen, the terrible arm that had reached down to the earth was 
lifted up and did no further damage, passing out of sight behind a 
black cloud. 

Many people visited the Gore to see the ruins. Among them w 
the editor of the New Hampshire Patriot, who in the next issue of 
his journal said, in reference to the authenticity of the accounts of the 
havoc wrought in that state, and after giving his authority from the other 
towns, "What relates to Warner and the destruction near Kearsarge 
mountain we know to be true, having ourself visited the spot. We saw 
the stone against which Mr. Savory was crushed, the place whence 
were dug the children of True and Savory, the children themselves, 
mangled and torn, the mothers mourning the death of an aged hus- 
band and an infant child. We witnessed the awe of the survivors of 
these distressed families. We stood at the foot of the mountain and 
saw the track of the whirlwind. It appeared as if a mighty torrent 
had many days poured down the mountain ; the earth torn up, the 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 215 

grass withereH, and nolhing living to be seen in the path of desola- 
tion. May God in mercy avert another such catastrophe," 

The wind was also felt in New Hampshire in sever.il other towns 
than those that lay in the track of the cyclone. At East Weare, the 
wind mowed a swath through the woods in the valley, twisting great 
trees off as if they were straws, leaving the hill-lops uniouched. 
Thousands of dollars' worth of timber was destroyed, The wind was 
felt slightly at Concord, where trees and fences were blown down. 
Considerable hail fell there, and also in Canterbury, some of the hail- 
slonea in the latter place measuring five inches in circumference. In 
Pittsfield, which is twenty miles from the track of the tornado, pieces 
of boards, shingles, strips of clapboards, and half ihe panel of a door 
were picked up the next morning. Shingles were seen at a great 
height in the air at Loudon and Canterbury on the evening of the 
eventful day. 

The southeasterly branch of the tornado moved almost soutiieast, 
and, as was said at the beginning of this chapter, proceeded into 
Massachusetts, crossing the Connecticut river where the stales of Ver- 
mont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts meet. This place is forty 
miles from the spot where the New Hampshire branch passed over 
the river. As soon as it had crossed the stream its havoc began, as 
in New Hampshire. The first town it entered was Norlhfield, and the 
time was about six o'clock, the same hour as the New Hampshire 
tornado occurred. In all respects the two were identical. The cloud 
appeared black and terrible, and nearly in the form of an inverted pyr- 
amid and moved very rapidly, being accompanied by a horrible roar- 
ing noise. It was an awful yet sublime spectacle. 

Its track, which varied in width from twenty to one hundred and 
twenty rods, was a Uttle south of the centre of Northfield, and over 
the south part of Warwick and Orange, to the southwesterly part of 
Jloyalston, where its force was broken by Tully mountain. It pros- 
trated all buildings, fences, stone walls, and trees that came in its way. 
Along its path, and for the distance of twenty-five miles beyond, 
through Winchendon, Ashliumham and Fitchburg, were strewn frag- 
Bients of buildings, sheaves of grain, bundles of corn stalks, clothing, 
etc. Trees stripped of their small branches were found at a consid- 
erable distance from the place where they had formerly stood. Several 
persons were killed and wounded, numerous houses, barns, and other 



^^L persons we 



225 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENHLAND, 



I 
I 

t 



buildings were demolished, and many domestic animals killed. Large 
trees were carried two hundred feel into the air, and great logs were 
swept out of the bed of Tully river, wliere they had Iain for more than 
fifty years. Tlie ground was torn up from the river to tlie mountain, 
a distance of about forty rods, from one to six feet deep, appearing as 
though it had been struck by successive discharges of cannon balls. 
Stones of many hundred pounds' weight were rolled from their beds, 
one that weiglied half a ton being forced several feet and overturned. 

An agitation among the clouds was first noticed, and a few minutes 
later they were raging furiously. Tlie wind cloud then assumed the 
shape and appearance of a column of dense smoke ascending from a 
burning building, becoming more compact, retaining a regular cylindri- 
cal form, and moving along in grand majesty. The bottom of it swept 
everything before, or rather into it, for it revolved with great velocity, 
drawing into the vortex whatever movable things came within its in- 
fluence and carrying them high up into its top, whence it threw out 
in all directions the broken articles, timbers, boards, shingles, limbs 
of trees, leaves, grass, etc., filling and darkening the air. Birds, espec- 
ially hawks and crows, sailed round and round high in the sky, and 
screamed dismally. But above all other noise was the tremendous 
.crashing, stunning, deafening roar of the wind in the cloud, which 
sounded like heavy thunder, and the earth trembled under the mighty 
power that thus stalked abroad on its desolating tour, giving the peo- 
ple most appalling sensations. 

It began its destructive work in Massachusetts near the top of the 
•high ridge of land called the Northfield mountains. The first build- 
ings it destroyed were the house and bam of Mr. Garland, who was 
thrown a considerable distance from the house, but not materially 
hurt. Then Chap in Holden's house and bam were destroyed. Mr. 
Holden was very much injured, being knocked down several times 
in his retreat to the cellar of the house. Reuben Wright's barn was 
also entirely destroyed. 

Then the tornado passed into Warwick, and shivered to atoms the 
house, barn and outbuildings of Jonathan Wilson, the pieces being 
scattered like chaff. Several members of his family were badly injiu-ed, 
six persons being in the house at the time of the disaster. Mr. and 
Mrs. Wilson and their son Joseph and his wife were taken from the 
ruins, all of them being much bruised and wounded, with the excep- 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 227 

tion of Mrs. Wilson, sr., who was but slightly hurt. A cow that was 
standing in the barnyard was thrown by the current a number of rods 
and killed. A tavern day-book was carried from this house to the 
southerly part of Groton, forty- five miles away, and a piece of a bureau 
to Leominster. From this place the whirlwind was traced to a large 
pond, where a great quantity of water was taken up in the form of a 
waterspout. Thence it passed to the house of Elisha Brown, which 
was almost wholly destroyed. In it were himself, his wife, and nine 
children. One of his daughters, about thirteen years old, was buried 
in the ruins and killed, and another daughter was permanently in- 
jured. The next buildings that stood in the track of the tornado were 
four barns, which were entirely destroyed. 

Still retaining its violence the wind passed through the northwester- 
ly part of Orange, Capt. Moses Smith's large tavern with barns, black- 
smith shop, and sheds being all swept from their foun^tions in a 
moment of time. So strong was the whirlwind that the chimneys and 
part of the foundation stones were swept away, and much of the cellar 
wall thrown down. Eleven persons were in the tavern, and they were 
carried in all directions, one of them, a young woman named Stearns, 
being found dead under the rubbish, after one and a half hours' dili- 
gent search, forty feet from where she was last seen, having been in- 
stantly killed. Only these two persons were killed, but several were 
severely injured. One young man had his shoulder fractured, and 
Mrs. Smith was taken out from among the timbers with a young child 
in her arms, neither of them being much injured. Several cattle were 
killed, and others were considerably hurt. Captain Smith's loss was 
very great, scarcely an article of furniture being saved. Two bams 
belonging to neighbors were also destroyed. 

The tornado then passed to Tully mountain in the easterly part of 
Orange, doing but little other damage, its fury having abated. 

The next day the people of Warwick assembled and chose a com- 
mittee to ascertain the extent of the damage in that town, and they 
also voted to raise four hundred dollars to be distributed among the 
sufferers in proportion to each one's loss according to the estimate of 
the committee. 

The accounts of the damage done by the tornado were so astounding 
that- people in other sections doubted their truthfulness. Among 
others the editor of a New York journal was incredulous, and a reply 



228 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

was made to him by the editor of the New Hampshire Patriot^ who 
had visited the spot. He closed his article as follows :. "Some un- 
common cause, incomprehensible by human ken, on that day operated 
upon the surrounding atmosphere — there was a power in the wind 
which seemed to exceed all combined animal strength — to those who 
felt that power, or were witnesses of the ravages made, it was most 
fearful and appalling — it defied all human art or strength — it exceeded 
all human belief — it can be resolved only into that Divine Power, * 
which 'rides in the whirlwind, and directs the storm.' '' 



CHAPTER LV. 
The Spring Freshet of 1B23. 

IN the southern portion of New England, during the last part of 
February, 1823, the snow lay very deep upon the ground, and on 
the fifth of March began a rain that for twenty-four hours poured 
down in great quantities, causing a disastrous freshet in Rhode Island 
and Connecticut on the next (Jay. About one o'clock that night, the 
bridge on the Providence and Pawtucket turnpike, which spanned the 
Pawtucket river at Natick, in Rhode Island, was carried away whole. 
The bridge on the old road, which was then commonly called Natick 
bridge, and a bridge in Olneyville were also destroyed* The bridge 
at the Arkwright factory, and another at the Hope factory were con- 
siderably damaged, but remained passable. At Pawtucket, the river 
had risen as high as the bridge the next day, and its abutments tot- 
tered, but still held. A bleach-house that had been recently built 
there was also somewhat injured. 

In Connecticut, the Yantic river was so full and the force of the 
water so great that the channel was considerably deepened in some 
places by the removal of large stones. One that weighed more than 
a ton, and which had been placed in the bed of the stream many years 
before to support a foot bridge, was raised and carried up into a 
meadow where it was thrown against a large tree. The six bridges 
that then spanned the river were all carried away. Three of them 
were at Norwich, two in Bozrah (one at Colonel Fitch's iron- works, 
and the other at Bozrahville), and one in Franklin. The oil-mill at 
Bean hill was swept away, and the oil-mill and the machine-shop near 
the falls at Norwich were much injured. A considerable amount of 
flax-seed was carried away from an oil-mill, and by the middle of May 
several meadows adjoining the river below the mill were covered with 
growing flax. At Norwich, a bridge that had been built in 181 7 at an 
expense of ten thousand dollars, and which was supported by heavy 

(229) 



330 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 



Stone piers, was lifted entire and carried down the stream in its usual 
position till it came to the rapids near the mouth of the river, when it 
separated into three parts, gliding with a graceful motion into the 
Thames. On the Wharf bridge, as it was called, several buildings • 
were moved, some being partly turued round. The most interesting 
feature of the freshet was the carrj'ing away of the Methodist chapel 
which stood on the bridge. It had been decorated with evergreens 
for some festive occasion, and tliey had not been removed when ihe 
building was swept firom its foundations. It moved along like a ma- 
jestic ship, bowing to the waves, then righting itself again. For a mile 
it retained its uptight position, and the frame held together until it 
had passed into the Sound. The incident gave rise to many exagger- 
ated stories, the newspapers alleging tlial the church bore off both 
pastor and flock who were singing as they passed New London. An-' 
other report came that the church had successfully landed on one of 
the islands, and that notice had been given thai services would be 
held there in the future. The schooner Fame, bound from Charles- 
ton, S. C, to Bridgeport, was in the harbor, and nearly collided with 
the building. The crew reported that it gallantly sailed by them in 
the night, being brilliantly lighted. The poet Brainard heard of the 
incident, and wrote some lines about it, which he entiUed "The Cap- 
tain." The following are a part of thera : — 

"Solemn he paced upon that schooner's deck, 
And mutlered of hia hardships : — 'I have been 
Where the wild will of Mississippi's tide 
Has dashed me on the sawyer; I have sailed 
In the thick night, along the wave-washed edge 
Of ice, in acres, hy the pitiless coast 
Of Labradocj and I have scraped my keel 
O'et coral rocks in Madagascar seas; 
And often, !□ my cold and midnight watch, 
Have heard the warning voice of the lee shore 
Speaking in breakers 1 Ay, and I have seen 
The whale and sword-iish light beneath my bows; 
And, when they made the deep boil likea pot. 
Have swung into its vottex; and I know 
To cord my vessel with a sailor's skill. 
And brave such dangers with a sailor's heart; — 
But never yet, upon the stormy wave, 
Oc where the river mixes with the main. 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 23 1 

Or in the chafing anchorage of the bay, 
In all my rough experience of harm, 
Met I — a Methodist meeting-house ! 



** Cat-head, or beam, or davit has it none, 
Starboard nor larboard, gunwale, stem nor stern ! 
It comes in such a 'questionable shape/ 
I cannot even speak it ! Up jil), Josey, 
And make for Bridgeport ! There, where Stratford point. 
Long beach, Fair weather island, and the buoy 
Are safe from such encounters, we'll protest ! 
And Yankee legends long shall tell the tale. 
That once a Charleston schooner was beset. 
Riding at anchor, by a meeting-house !' " 




The Spring Freshet 0/1826. 

IN the spring of 1 826, occurred a freshet that had been unparalleled in 
New England for more than thirty-five years. It extended not 
only through the northern New England states, but into Canada 
and New Vork. In the evening of Friday, March 24, the wind began 
blowing a gale from the southeast, and rain fell in such torrents that it 
seemed as if the very flood-gates of heaven were open. It continued 
all night, and ceased the next morning. 

In Vermont, much damage was done to the roads and small bridges 
in the vicinity of Brattleboro', the greatest loss being the destruction 
of the bridges over West river between Brattleboro' and Newfaue. 
In VVeathersfield, Black river rose so high that it flooded a certain 
barn yard and drowned eighty merino sheep. At Bellows Falls, 
buildings and other property of much value were destroyed. A large 
paper-mill that had been built a short time before by B. Blake at 
Rockingham, on Saxton's river, was entirely carried away, the loss be- 
ing five thousand dollars. A saw-mill, two bridges and a dye-hoase 
connected with the woolen factory of N. Whitcomb & Co., on the 
same slream, were also lost. On Williams' river, two bridges were car- 
ried away, and much damage was done by the swollen streams in the 
neighborhood of Woodstock, A sad incident that occurred in that 
town was the death of Nathan Furbush,who, while attempting to leap 
a stream formed by the overflowing water, fell into the swift current 
and was carried beyond all human assistance. The village of Mont- 
pelier was almost entirely inundated, and the turnpike between that 
place and Royalton was washed away in so many places that it was 
impassable. The freshet happened in the night, and in consequence 
the farmers that hved near the river suffered much in the loss of sheep 
and young stock. 
The Kennebec river in Maine was more affected than any other 
(232) 



HISTORIC STORMS OF MEW ENGLAND, 833 

large stream. When the rain began, the river was covered with ice 
that was twenty inches thick. The next day after the sliowcrs the 
water rose slowly and in the afternoon it was supposed that the great 
weight and strength of the ice would prevent its breaking up. The 
river continued to fill, however, until three o'clock on the next morn- 
ing, when the ice could no longer resist the powerftit pressure beneath, 
and it burst half a mile above Gardiner, The water raged down on 
the wharves at Ganliner, covering them four or five feet deep, and 
the great body of ice that followed pressed down upon them. At the 
first shock, a warehouse that stood nearly at the end of the upper or 
Long wharf was swept into the dock below. At five o'clock the 
water had risen two or three feet higher, and a small quantity of wood, 
lumber, etc., had gone down llie stream, being lost. The ice above 
Gardiner still remained intaci, and by twelve o'clock the water had 
lowered two or three feet. It immediately began to rise again, and 
continued rising until four o'clock, when it had attained its former 
height. A great body of ice had been accumulating for a mile above 
the town, and at this hour it suddenly started, rushing down the river 
with tremendous force. The people saw it coming and realized its 
almost superhuman poiver. The only hope they had of saving their 
property lay in the resistance of Long wharf, from the end of which 
the warehouse had already been carried away. Adjoining the place 
where it had stood was a large building which was used as an ice- 
house, containing at the time about four thousand tons of ice, and 
piled against it on the wharf were five or six hundred cords of wood. 
The wharf extended far into the river, and it was hoped that the 
heavy weight upon it would enable it to withstand the flood. It 
would thus form a partial barrier to the ice and water, compelling 
them to pass down gradually through the town. People anxiously 
watched it, fearing lest the wharf should give way and the water 
tweep down the stream, destroying the property on the wharves be- 
low, and the fifteen vessels that were lying in the docks. Hundreds of 
the inhabitants eagerly gazed at every assault made upon it. The ice 
leaped twenty feet from the surface of the water and fell against the 
building, which withstood the shock. Masses of ice then pressed 
against it, but it held firm. A small schooner that had lain a few rods 
up the stream was dashed against it, and in a moment was shattered to 
pieces, as easily as one would crush an egg shell. At last, as if to 



I 

^^K pieces, as ea 



334 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND, ^^^H 

make one last struggle to overcome the obstacle in its path, the water 
caused logs twenty feet long and three feet in diameter to rear their 
whole length and be thrown against the building, — but it still stood. 
For two minutes the conflict seemed doubtful, but in two more it was 
decided. The wharf remained, and the property below was chieHy 
saved. The terrible breathless anxiety of the spectators gave place, 
when tlie danger was passed, to a general and heartfelt shout of joy. 
The force of the raging stream had lessened, but the water had not 
lowered, neither had the ice and limber all gone down. A com- 
pact mass of ice, logs, trees, lumber, etc., was floating rapidly by, and 
in the midst of it were embedded five schooners, hurrying to what 
seemed to be certain destniclion. The ice continued moving down 
for a mile or two below the town, where it was finally stopped by an 
unbroken field of ice, and jammed so severely that it caused the water 
to rise to a height never before known in Gardiner. At six o'clock 
the water was thirteen feet above the common high-water mark, an 
hour later it began to subside, and in twenty-four hours had fallen 
about four feet. The loss in Gardiner alone was about five thousand 
dollars. The chief sufl'erers were R. H. Gardiner, Esq., and J. P. 
Hunter & Co. The firm's loss was in logs. Mr. Gardiner was the 
owner of the warehouse, which was carried away, and in which were 
a few goods belonging to parties in Augusta. His causeway across the 
basin of the stream was pressed by the ice several rods from its origi- 
nal location. A boat -builder's shop belonging to Mr. Patten, which 
stood by the side of the ice-house, was crushed by the ice* and by the 
logs that were driven upon it, and the fishing schooner of Enoch Dill 
was utterly destroyed. Small quantities of salt, in some of the lower 
stores, wood, lumber, etc., were destroyed, and some damage was 
done to one or two vessels, which were lodged upon the wharves. In 
Pittston, on the opposite side of the river from Gardiner, a large brig 
on the stocks, in the process of construction, belonging to J. H. and 
A- Cooper, was hfted from the blocks, and somewhat damaged. The 
firm also lost one or two small buildings. To show the force of the 
water at this place it is related that an elm tree five feet in diameter, 
situated in the ship yard of Capt. J. Tarbox, standing many feet from 
high-water mark, and protected by a point of high land above it, was 
uprooted by the action of the water. 

At Hallowell, the ice jammed below the village, forming a dam, and 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 235 

the water inundated the town, swept off buildings and filled the lower 
rooms of the stores on the river side of the main street, destroying 
large quantities of the articles contained in them. All the vessels 
on the stocks at that place were swept away, and four or five schooners 
were driven from their moorings nearly to Gardiner, where they were 
wedged in the immovable mass of broken ice. In the town thirty or 
forty families were obliged to abandon the living rooms in their houses, 
and flee to the upper stories on account of the flood. The loss in 
Hallowell amounted to more than twenty thousand dollars. The prin- 
cipal part of the bridge at Waterville was destroyed, and two or three 
small bridges between that town and Augusta were so much damaged 
that they werg impassable. Indeed, every settlement on the river suf- 
fered more or less from the inundation. 




I 



■ the White Mountains, and Destruction of the 
Willey Family. 

TTLL visitors to the White mountains know of tlie Notch, a famous 
r1 pass, thirty miles in length, in which are Crawford's, Bemis and 
/ the Glen. East of Crawford's for two miles it ,is only a very 
narrow defile, running between two huge cliffs, that were apparently 
rent asunder by some almost inconceivable convulsion of nature. The 
high walls of Mount Willey on one side and of Mount Webster on 
the other, are almost perpendicular, and rise in the highest place three 
thousand feet. The eastern entrance to this cut is between two rocks, 
one about twenty feet high, and the other twelve, being only twenty- 
two feet apart. 

The Saco river rises in the mountains, and flows down through this 
remarkable gap in a southeasterly direction. In the upper part of 
the Notch, the channel of the stream is only twenty feet wide, about 
the entire width of the pass, which widens as it approaches North 
Conway, where it becomes a fertile valley four or five miles in width. 
There are severaJ streams in the mountains which empty into the river 
as it flows through the Notch, and on one of them is the Silver cascade, 
which is one of the most beautiful falls of water in the world. Here 
is also the famous flume. Al! through the pass the scenery is exceed- 
ingly grand, and few places in the world exceed.it in beauty. The 
luxuriant foliage of the large trees on either side of it for much of the 
distance meet, forming an arched covering of green. 

This natural pass was taken advantage of by the early settlers of the 
section of New Hampshire which lies northwest of the mountains, it 
affording the only direct means of reaching the seaport that was near- 
est to them. This was Portland, wliere they exchanged their produce 
for foreign commodities, and other supplies that they could not pro- 
cure in their region. Through the Notch, as it was called in very early 



HISTORIC STOR.%fS OF NEW ESGLAND. 237 

dines, a turnpike hnd been built, and in iSiC, it had become a great 
thoroughfare for the farmers of the upper counties of Vermont and 
northwestern New Hampshire for transporting their produce to market 
at Augusta as wet! as Portland. Mr, Crawford conducted a public house 
in the Notch in those days, and he frequently supplied feed and keep- 
ing for eighty horses in a single night during the period of good sleigh- 
ing. A short distance east of Mr. Crawford's was another tavern kept 
by Capt. Samuel Willey. The history of these old time hostelries 
would furnish one of the most interesting chapters of New England 
history if it could be fully written. 

In some places the river runs so near the side of the pass that the 
mountains overhang it, and again there is scarcely room for the road 
between the stream and rocks. Thus side by side, the road some- 
times crossing the river, they run through the pass. 

The sides of the mountain are so sleep at many places along the 
Notch that, after the road was constructed, hea\y rains frequently 
caused the earth and rocks to dislodge and slide down, carrying all 
the trees, shrubbery and everything else from the rocky foundation of 
the mountains. These slides usually began near the highest limits of 
vegetation, and widened and deepened as they descended, sometimes 
covering a space of several hundred acres and cutting into the side of 
the mountain to the depth of thirty feet. During the first week in 
July, i8j6, a great rain had dislodged a large mass of stone and gravel 
from one of the mountain-i, and came down, filling up the road for 
a long distance. 

The month of August that summer was as wet a month in Massa- 
chusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut as was ever experienced there. 
At Salem, Mass., fourteen inches of rain fell during the month, and 
from the tcntli to the fifteenth, eight and seven-tenths inches, the 
greatest quantity falling in one day, being two and one-half inches, fell 
on the fourteenth. Lowlands were inundated and mill-dams injured. 
The air was remarkably humid nearly the whole of the month, and 
profuse showers constantly wet the earth. 

In the White mountains, however, no rain fell until nearly the close 
of the month. The roads were like beds of ashes, two or three inches 
deep, and the country around showed the usual effects of a long 
drought. On the mornmg of Monday, the twenty- eighth, the moun- 
tains were enveloped in clouds, and a cold heavy rairi began to fall 



I 



23S HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. ^^^H 

moderately all through New Hampshire, increasing in the aftemooo, 
and falling in torrents most of the night. The next rnoming was 
clear and serene. 

In different parts of tJie state, great quantities of hay and grain were 
injured, roads washed so badly tliat travel o\er them was suspended, 
and many bridges were carried away. All five of the bridges over 
the Amraonoosuc river were swept away. The Contoocook river rose 
higher at Henniker than it was ever known to rise before or since that 
time. The Souhegan and Merrimac rivers were as high as tliey usually 
are in spring freshets, and several bridges and mills located on them 
were carried away. In the mountain region it caused the most remark- 
able flood ever known there. At daybreak on the next morning the 
water of the Saco river in the Notch was sixteen feet above its usual 
height, and had spread to three times its width. The next day it 
flowed rapidly between steep banks covered with hemlocks and pines, 
and over beds of rocks, which broke its surface into raging billows. 
Down through the Notch were carried sand and driftwood, to an ex- 
tent never known before, and they were deposited with the water on 
the flelds below. Fences and bridges were carried away, and logs 
thrown into the roads, blockading them. In some places the turn- 
pike was excavated to the depth of (ifieen or twenty feet, and in oth- 
ers was covered with earth, rocks and trees to a greater depth. For 
a mile and a half along the Notch, from Crawford's to Willey's, the 
road was not visible, except in one place for a distance of two or three 
rods. Large patches of the surface of the mountains, first on one 
side of the road, then on the other, and in some places on both 
sides had slipped down into this narrow pass, along its whole length. 
Thirty slides were counted on the mountains, many bare spots appear- 
ing that were never seen before. A large area on one side of Mount 
Pleasant slid down and covered a considerable portion of Elhan Craw- 
ford's pasture, which contained .between thirty and forty acres. The 
water rose two feet in his house, and many of his cattle and sheep 
were lost, eight hundred bushels of oals being also destroyed. On 
the Saco river below Conway, the damage was considerable. At 
Bartlett and Conway the loss was severe in the destruction of crops, 
mills and bridges, and at Fryeburg great quantities of corn, potatoes, 
meadow hay and fences were destroyed and some cattle drowned. 

By Wednesday, the water had subsided, and the weather was clear 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 239 

and pleasant. Nothing had beer heard from the Notch House, which 
was conducted by Captain Willey, at the eastern terminus of the pass, 
several miles from any human habitaiion. The house stood on the west- 
erly side of the road, only a few rods distant from the high bluff which 
lose with fearful abruptness to the height of two thousand feet. The 
buildings consisted of a house and barn, which were connected by a 
woodshed. Mr. Willey and his family had recently moved there from 
Tryeburgand were amiable and obliging people, being much respected 
by their neighbors, and commended for their neatness by travellers 
who were their guests. 

Mr. Crawford became alarmed for the safety of the Willey family, 
and with a guest started up the pass on foot, so much earth, and so 
many stones and trees having fallen that a horse could not travel on 
the road which in fact was not to be seen in many places, being cov- 
ered in spots thirty feet deep. After a tiresome journey they arrived 
at the Willeys, The road appeared to have been overflowed with water 
for a mile south of the pbce, and the beautiful Uttle meadow oppo- 
site the house, which had been covered with crops, was a pond. The 
house was found to be uninjured, but the barn was crushed, and un- 
der its niins were found two dead horses. The house was entirely de- 
serted ; the beds were tumbled, their sheets and blankets were turned 
down, and near them upon chairs and on the Boor lay the wearing ap- 
parel of the several members of the family. On the bar were lying 
Mr. Willey's money and papers. The visitors were convinced that 
the entire family was destroyed, and a broiher of Mr. Crawford, who 
then appeared from his father's place, which was six miles further 
east, confirmed the supposition. 

After a slide in June, the family were more ready to take the alarm 
than they had been, though they did not consider their situation dan- 
gerous as no fall had ever been known there. On the night of the 
great rain, however, probably at about eleven o'clock, tlie family was 
alarmed by the noise of rushing wind, (lowing torrents, and the tum- 
bling, crushing earth, rocks and forest trees from the ejttreme point 
of the westerly mountain above them. They all sprang from their 
beds, and in their night clothes ran, in the utter darkness, for their 
Eves. But the immense mass descended with terrible velocity, toward 
the sleeping family. When within about five rods of the house, its 
.course was checked by a large block of granite, and the mass sep- 




340 



HISTORIC STORMS OF !> 



arated into two streams, one of which rushed down by Ihe north 
end of the house, crushing the hain atid spreading itself over the 
meadow. Tlie other part passed on the south side, overtaking and de- 
stroying the unfortunate family. They probably altempted to reach a 
stone embankment a few rods distant, which, it is said, had been 
erected for a place of refuge in a similar emergency. This shelter, 
whatever it may have been, was deeply buried under the earth, rocks 
weighing from ten to fifty tons being scattered about the place, and 
indeed in any direction escape was utterly impossible. Tiie house 
alone remained undisturbed, though large stones and tniuks of trees 
came within six feet of its walls, and the moving mass which separated 
behind the building again united in its front. The house therefore 
was tiie only place of refuge from the terrible avalanche, and in their 
beds the family would have been preserved from their horrible fate. 

"An evetlasting hill was torn 
From its primeval base, and borne, 
In gold and crimson vapors dressed, 
To where a people are at rest. 
Slowly it came in its mountain wrath. 
And the forests vanished before its path, 
And the ruile clilTs buwed, and the waters Sed, 
And the living were buried, while over their head 
They heard the full march of their fue as he sped. 
And the valley of life was the lomb of the dead." 

The bodies of Mr. and Mrs.WiSley, their daughters Eliza and Sally, 
Mr. Willey's hired man and boy named Allen and Nickerson, were 
found about fifty rods from the house horribly mangled, but the re- 
mains of the three other children were never discovered, probably 
having been deeply buried under the rocks and earth. Those that 
were found were all buried in a qtiiet nook in the field then belonging 
to Mr, Willey's father, the parents and children being interred in one 
grave. It was the family burying- ground, Mr. Willey's parents and 
other members of the family being buried there. It is in North Con- 
way, and as one passes the Bigelow farm he cannot fail to notice a 
stone stile built into the wall. A path leads from it for about ten rods 
to die iron gate of the httle country graveyard, which will swing open 
gnimbhngly on its rusty hinges, as though resenting the intrusion. 
Within the enclosure there are about twenty graves, and one is at- 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 24 1 

tracted to a slate headstone by the down-trodden grass in front of it. 
At the top of the slab is engraved the figure of a weeping willow, which 
was such a popular ornament on gravestones three-quarters of a cen-- 
tury ago, and beneath it is this inscription : — 

To the memory of the family which was at once 
destroyed by a slide from the White Moun- 
tains on the night of 28 August, 1826. 

Samuel Willey, a 38. ;: 

Polly S. Willey, 35. * ' 

Eliza A. Willey, 12. 

Jeremiah S. Willey, 11. 

Martha G. Willey, 10. 

Elbridge G. Willey, 7. 

Sally Willey, 3. 

The first two named are the parents and the rest are their children. 

It seemed as if the Notch road could never again be made passable, 
but the citizens of Portland, who were interested because of the trade 
they carried on with the farmers beyond the mountains, called a meet- 
ing of the people of the town and vicinity to see what could be done 
about it. A committee was chosen to examine the road and estimate 
the cost of repairs. The movement resulted in the road being made 
passable, though at great expense, and by the last of November wag- 
ons passed over it 
16 



CHAPTER LVIIL 
The Wreck of the Almira, 183?. 

THE month of January, 1 82 7, was the coldest January there had 
been in New England for twelve years. On streams and lakes 
the ice was extremely thick. During the month there was a 
warm spell for several days, which was succeeded within a few hours' 
time by a temperature that was below zero. The cold was most intense ; 
several persons were ' frozen to death, while many lost their hands or 
feet Along the coast, vessels were placed in hazardous situations, 
the cables of many of them being cut by the ice and forced out to sea, 
■or on the rocks and beaches. Several went ashore at Ipswich and at 
other places along the Massachusetts coast. The perils of sailors are 
always many, but those of ilie coasters are multiplied, and disaster 
often overtakes them. The incident that renders this season of severe 
■cold most interesting is the wreck of a coasting vessel on the Massachu- 
setts shore. 

On the afternoon of the sixteenth of the month, a small schooner 
■named Almira, laden with wood, was slowly moving out of the little 
harbor of Sandwich "at Cape Cod. After rounding the point sail was 
hoisted, and she stood toward the north. Until that date the month 
had been sevetely cold, gloomy and boisterous. Some of the vessels 
had been dismantled and laid up for the winter. Others were ladened, 
and had been waiting for better weather several weeks. Severe cold is 
generally followed on the cape by a south wind and rain which pours 
■down in a flood of water. It was so in this instance, and at about 
inoon on the day mentioned the rain ceased, the air grew warmer, and 
the weather pleasant. The commander of the ,4/>«)>a, concluding that 
there would be a few days of pleasant weather, started down the liar- 
bor with a soft, but gusty, spring-like wind. The air was still very 
damp, and high in the heavens clouds were pursuing each other irreg- 
.ularly. 

(=42) 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 243 

Upon a hill overlooking the harbor, an old and experienced coaster 
captain, stood watching the schooner as slie glided out toward the sea. 
Walking up to his side, an acquaintance accosted him, but his gaze 
was so inlent and his thoueht so concentrated that he took no notice 
of the intrusion. After the vessel reached tlie open water and stood 
away to the north, the old seaman lifted his hands and exclaimed as if 
to himself, "Gone out I he will never come in again !" His acquaint- 
ance, who still stood by his side, remarked thatt he wind was south- 
erly, but he had again relapsed into his reverie, and walked away with 
a countenance that indicated plainly the faith that he liad in the disas- 
trous result of the vessel's trip. 

As the schooner sailed along on its course the breeze became more 
and more variable. The master of the craft, Josiah Ellis, was a large, 
noble appearing man, who seemed able to cope with the elements, 
having many times by his physical energy successfully encountered 
fierce and pitiless storms during tlie years he had spent upon the sea. 
The wind and the tide had seemed to him so favorable that he had 
started on the trip with a small crew, consisting of his son Josiah and 
John Smith, a seaman. 

The Aimira soon made but slow progress on account of the fitfiil- 
ness of the wind, and the early evening came on as they were ofT 
Monument point, Plymouth, when they were working their way across 
the outer part of the bay. Shortly after, the crew were surprised to 
suddenly hear Captain Ellis' voice calling thera together. He pointed 
to tlie northwest sky, which was clear and bright. About midway to tlie 
zenith the clouds were hastening toward tlie southeast. New stars were 
appearing every moment in the clear section. The sight was indeed 
beautiful, but to the mariners it was a dreaded indication of an imme- 
diate change to severe cold. They knew that the severity of the past 
few weeks would return, and out on the sheherless ocean they could 
not hope to witlistand it. They must reach shore and shelter ! Ply- 
mouth was the nearest harbor, but that lay in the face of the wind. 
However, they must try to reach it by tacking. This was tried sev- 
eral times, but the wind became more violent, the cold more severe, 
and their efforts were unavailing. At length the main boom was 
wrenched from the mast by a sudden movement of the vessel, the hal- 
yards were let go, and the mainsail came down crashing and crackling, 
it being already coated with ice. It was impossible to furl or gather 



**4 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 



I 



it up. The vessel was laid to the wind, the foresail, which was also 
frozen, being braced fore and aft, and tlie jib loosened, it not being 
in their power lo haul the latter down. The wind soon cracked the 
ice and rent the canvas, finally tearing it into shreds. Obeying the 
helm, the schooner came up to the wind, and so remained. 

The whole sky was now swept clear, the moon and stars grew very 
bright, and the atmosphere was charged with frost and cold. The 
wind was not simply cutting, but the frozen moisture seemed to be 
needles of ice. The crew had now become quite wet with the moist 
air, and drenched with spray, their garments being congealed upon 
them. Icicles hung from their clothing and hair, and they began to 
feel the near approach of that stem power which cliills and freezes 
the heart. A considerable distance from shore, their spars, rigging 
and sails ice-covered and useless, and their wet clothing stiff with ice, 
they knew not what to do. They descended to the cabin, and suc- 
ceeded in lighting a fire, aroimd which they stood for a few minutes. 
But the thought of other dangers drew them to the deck, which was 
also covered with ice, for it had become so cold that the spray froze 
as soon as it struck. The smallest ropes had assumed the appear- 
ance of cables, and the folds of the sails were tilled with a weight 
that caused the craft to careen and threatened to sink it. No remedy 
seemed to be within their control. The vessel had become so heavy 
and the helm so encumbered wilh ice that she could not be guided. 
They at last concluded to let it drift into Barnstable bay again, and 
try to reach their own shore. After a straggle they succeeded in 
moving the rudder far enough to turn the vessel about snfficienlly to 
head it toward Sandwich, and with the assistance of the wind and tide. 
Monument point was cleared and they drifted into Barnstable bay to 
a point within eight miles of their homes. It was now some hours 
along in the night, and the moon shone brightly over land and sea. 
They could see the shore, and they longed for daylight, in the hope 
that the people who dwelt along the coast might. discover and release 
them. The long hours passed wearily. The cold steadily increased 
through the night, and the sun rose upon the coldest morning of the 
whole winter. 

The crew were unable to perform any duty, and the ice still ac- 
cumulated. They swept past their homes, hearing nothing and seeing 
nothing but the smoke curling up from the chimneys. The hope of 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 



»45 



receiving assistance from their friends was gone. They must now let 
the vessel float where it would. Their last sail had yielded to the 
violence of the wind and the burden of ice, and hung in taiters from 
the mast. Turning broadside to the wind, the vessel floated rapidly 
along, passing the harbors of Sindwich, Barnstable and Yarmouth, on, 
on toward the shore. Ahead of them was a reef of rocks, running out 
into the sea northerly from the town of Dennis. On the west side of 
the reef is a sandy beach, and on the east is a cove with a similar 
shore, forming a safe harbor from the northwest wind. But the reef 
lay between llie vessel and the cove. 

On this morning, from a hill, one of the citizens of Dennis saw this 
ill-fated schooner as it drifted toward the rocks, and gave an alarm. 
With a number of men, most of whom were seamen, he hastened 
to the shore. The vessel liad now corae so neat the reef that the 
people looked on the deck, but only saw masses of ice. At length, they 
thought that there might be human beings oti board, and as with one 
voice gave a shout. The three men emerged from the cabin, shaking 
with the cold. An old sea-captain shouted to them, "Put up your 
helm, make sail, and round the rocks," unaware of their utter inability 
to obey any part of the command. They stood like statues ; they , 
could do nothing. The crew felt the rising of the vessel for tiie last 
fatal plunge, and clung to whatever they could touch, with more in- 
stinct, however, than reason. A great wave lifted the hulk as if had 
been the body of a man, and dropped it at full length upon the ledges. 
The waves washed over the deck, filled the cabin, and left no place of 
retreat but the small portion of the quarter abaft the binnacle, and a 
little space forward of the windlass. The crew went shivering to the 
former place, being drenched, and ready to die and expecting each 
moment that the vessel would go to pieces. The people on shore 
resolved to make an effort lo save their lives. A boat was procured 
and manned by a hardy, noble crew, who risked their own lives for 
these unknown men. The surf was very heavy, and largely composed 
of sludge. It required great effort to shove the boat off, and the men 
waded into the semi-fluid mass for that purpose. Scarcely had they 
reached the outer part of the surf when a refluent wave fdled the boat. 
A long and slender warp cast from the shore reached one of the men. 
and was attached to the boat, all being drawn back again by those 
on shore. With an all-absorbing interest the crew on the schooner 



246 



HISTORIC ffTORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 



watched these proceedings. They saw the failure, and hope again 
left them. One went forward and sat down on the windlass; and 
the cty rang out to him from the shore, " Rise up ! rise up, and stir 
yourself !" The sailor was John Smith. He paid no attention to the 
warning cry, either because he did not know how fatal it would be to 
sit down when the cold was so intense, or did not care. However it 
was, he was soon indistinguishable, the ice having entirely encrusted 
him. The father and son now stood alone, but the torpor of death 
was slowly creeping over them. They endeavored to keep in motion, 
but nature at length conquered the father's resolution and he went 
forward and seated himself as Smith had done. The cry was again 
raised in vain. The boat was now manned anew, launched, and this 
time safely passed beyond the surf. But the vessel could not be 
boarded. The men in the boat called to young Ellis, and he answered 
them. The waves and wind swept so violently over the ledges and 
the wreck that they could not approach nearer; but they encouraged 
the young man to keep awake, assuring him that the rising of the tide 
would lift the schooner from the rocks and that they would watch and 
embrace the first practicable opportunity to save him. The rising tide 
brought the vessel to a stand, and the people with great effort got on 
board at four o'clock in the afternoon. Young Ellis was on the quar- 
ter deck giasping the tiller ropes to which his hands were frozen. 
His feet and ankles were incnisted with ice, and he seemed scarcely 
conscious of the presence of his deliverers. They carried him on 
shore in their arras, and as they passed his fether's body, he faintly 
uttered, 'There lies my poor father." He then relapsed into a stupor, 
from which he did not wake until the customary remedies had been 
used for his restoration. Smith's body had been washed away. Young 
Ellis was given the kindest and best treatment, but he suffered the loss 
of his fingers and toes. 



J 




Gale and Freshet of April, iSlj. 

TTT about two o'clock on the afiemoonof Tuesday, April 24, 1827, 
rl a severe southeast storm of wind and rain came suddenly upon 
/ the coast of Maine and New Hampshire. It was accompanied 
by lightning insomeplaces, and cantinued through the night with great 
violence. Vessels were driven on shore at Portsmouth and Pottiand, 
and other places on tJiat part of the coast, being wrecked or greatly 
damaged. Much injury was done to the shipping in other ways, es- 
pecially in Portland harbor, the vessels parting tiieir liawsers at the 
wharves and being driven about, colliding with other crafts, sinking 
some, and greatly damaging others. The bowsprits and jib-booms of 
a number were carried away, and several vessels were so strained that 
they became bilged. 

The greater damage, however, was caused by the rain, a severe 
freshet resulting, which carried away many bridges and mills. At 
Cape Neddock, in York, Moses Nason's woolen fafctory and a grist- 
mill were carried down stream, sweeping the bridge entirely away, 
and a bridge at Pettigrew's hill was also damaged. About five miles 
up die Cape Neddock river Cotton Chase's clothing mills were swept 
away, carrying with them four bridges and everything else on the river, 
with the exception of Norton's grist-mill near its mouth, which was 
strongly supported by stone. 

On the Kennebuiik river, a fulling- and a grist-mill were carried 
down against the bridye at Kennebimk, and stove to pieces. A 
large quantity of lumber, logs and general diibris collected at the 
bridge, and for a long time it was thought that the bridge would be 
forced off its foundations, but it w ithstood the onslaughts of the mad 
waters. Most of the lumber was saved, and the bridge was injured 
but slightly, thougli two small bridges below were carried away. How 
much lumber was washed into the stream cannot be staled, but many 

(247) 




«48 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

piles of boards, which contained from ten to thirty-five thousand feet 
each, were taken from the wharves, many of them being saved by 
pulling them on shore by means of oxen and long ropes. On the 
Mousam river, a house was nearly undermined by the water. 

Saco river, of course, was raised by the rain. In the town of Saco 
all the roads in the woods were much gullied, and in the river the water 
was very high. Fifteen families were taken off the island above 
Spring's bridge, the water being above the first-story windows, and at 
Poor-house island three families were carried off on men's backs. At 
Biddeford, a bridge was carried away. Tlie Presumpscot river was 
also greatly flooded, and mills and bridges on it were destroyed. 
Nonesuch bridge, just outside of Portland, was covered by the water 
to the depth of three feet, and Black point causeway was five feet 
under water. The eastern mail-stage driver bad to go through the 
water at that depth for half a mile. At Scarborough, a grist-mill was so 
flooded that it (ell ten feet on one side, and the bridge at tlie end of 
Storer's lane was undermined. The mail carrier's horse narrowly es- 
caped drowning there wliile fording the stream. There was no passing 
at Milliken's causeway, and the water on the turnpike was nearly three 
feet deep. Pride's bridge at Portland was entirely covered by the 
flood, and somewhat injured, but remained upon its piers. Winslow's 
bridge at Falmouth and Congin bridge at Westbrook were carried 
away. The bridge and Cutler's grist-mill at Saccarappa were swept 
away, and two saw-mills were much injured, one having its machinery 
broken. 

On the Androscoggin river a great amount of properly was de- 
stroyed, about two-thirds of the bridge between Brunswick and Tops- 
ham being carried away, and also two saw-mills belonging to Doctor 
Page. The great boom that was located a few rods above the bridge 
broke away, and two hundred tliousand dollars' worth of logs went down 
the stream, none of them being recovered. Damages were occasioned 
by the flood all through that section of the country. The rain con- 
tinued to fall and the rivers to remain very full for several weeks after 
the water began to lower and the worst of the freshet was over. 




CHAPTER LX. 

Tlie Storm of March, 1830. 

TT COLD northeast storm of wind, rain and snow raged along the 
r1 coast of New England during the latter part of March, 1830, 
4 producing a great tide, which in some parts exceeded the high- 
est tide remembered there. The storm began on the morning of 
Friday, the twenty- sixth, and continued till one o'clock in the after- 
noon, the tide being at its height at noon of that day. 
' At Portland, Me., several wharves were carried away, and many 
vessels lost their fastenings, some being driven on shore and others 
greatly damaged by being beaten agamst the wharves. One sank 
while anchored in the stream, and several others were injured. A 
great quantity of lumber owned by several individuals, and fifteen 
hundred cords of wood belonging to the Steam Navigation Company, 
were washed away. A long store-house on Union wharf was swept 
away, and several stores on the wharves were displaced. The bridges 
on the roads leading out of the town suffered much damage. 

At Portsmouth, N. H., wharves were injured and several vessels 
driven ashore. 

At Newburyport, Mass., wharves were overflowed and wood and 
lumber set adrift, but the stores in which was most of the salt in the 
market were water-tight, and tlie contents were thus saved. The 
shipping escaped with little damage, with the exception of the 
schooner Lady Howard, from Boston, having a small cargo, which was 
driven ashore at Salisbury. The crew and a part of the goods, to- 
gether with the cables and anchors, were saved, but the vessel was 
lost, having split open. 

At Gloucester, the water was two or three feet deep on the wharves, 
and much movable property was washed away, the waves being -cov- 
ered with articles and debris of all kinds. The sloop William Swain, 
bound from Nantucket to Boston, with a cargo of oil and candles, 
was driven ashore at Sandy bay, and was totally lost. The passengers 

(249) 



ago HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

and crew were saved. One of the passengers was a Mrs. Hayden, 
who was taken from her stateroom some time after the vessel siruck. 
She»was nearly lifeless, and strenuous efforts were necessary for her 
recovery. 

In Beverly, considerable damage was also done". About eighty 
cords of wood and much timber and lumber were washed otf the 
wharves, which were more or less injured, and Ellingwood's wharf 
near t!ie bridge was nearly destroyed. Some damage was done by 
the colliding of the schooner Agawam, which had parted her cables, 
with the schooner Abigail, carrying away her main-mast. 

At Salem, the waves rolled several feet above the wharves, sweep- 
ing away great quantities of wood and timber and every other mov- 
able thing that was on them. A store on Derby wharf was undermined 
in such a manner that it fell partially over, and for a time maintained, 
that position. Strong ropes were attached to it, and it was held there 
until the Monday evening following, when it went over with a tremen- 
dous crash. A store at the head of Crown in shield's wharf was also 
overthrown by the water. Two of the custom-house boatmen, Messrs. 
Brown and Peel, were in the building at the time, and very narrowly 
escaped drowning. A man at the end of the wharf was saved with 
great difficulty by means of a boat which was sent to his relief. The 
brig Washington was driven from Allen's wharf, carrying away the 
capsill, and drifted upon the beach at the foot of Hardy street, but 
was gotten off without material damage. Other vessels were driven 
ashore, but were not much injured. The roads over both North and 
South rivers and several others were rendered impassable by the flood. 
At high tide, the water was four feet deep on the isthmus connecting 
the Neck with the town at the head of Fort avenue. The force of 
the wind and waves was felt as far inland as Danversport, where the 
works of the Salem and Danvers iron-factory received considerable 
damage, and one of the buildings there in which aqueduct logs were 
bored was destroyed. 

In Marblehead, the storm was very severe, several vessels were 
driven on shore, and others lost their masts, booms, bowsprits and 
rudders. The wharves were swept of their wood, and several of them 
were greatly damaged. 

At Lynn, the tide broke over the long beach into the harbor, and 
carriedawaytimber, wood andshingles from the wharves. The old resi- 
dents of the town said they did not remember a tide that was so disas- 



I 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 25! 

trotis on the beach. About midway of the little beach at Nahant, the 
schooner Adventurer of Hingham, commandeci by Captain Churchill, 
bound from New York to Boston, and lailen with flour and grain, 
went ashore at about nine o'clock in the forenoon and became bilged. 
The crew and a considerable part of the cargo .were saved. 

The tide rose at Boston one and one-half inches higher than the 
great tide of December, 1 786, which was ten inches higher than the 
highest that any person then living remembered. The water broke 
through the dam along the Roxbury canal, parallel with the neck on 
the east side, in several places, and flooded the lowlands, sweeping 
away fences and outhouses, and prostrating buildings. Northampton 
street was flooded, and its surface to the depth of about a foot was 
carried away. The water dashed into the plain between that street 
and what was then called the town of Roxbury near Lewis' cordage 
factory, and greatly injured the rope-walks and houses. There were 
several dwellings of only one story in height, tenanted by the faroiJies 
of persons who were employed in the factory. The water flowed in so 
suddenly that not one of the families had time to remove a particle 
of their furniture. On Saturday morning the water was nearly six 
feet above the floors, and about eighty women and children were taken 
in boats to the houses that stood on higher ground. The inmates of 
several Iwo-story houses were driven to the second stories. On the 
next day workmen were employed in cutting a channel through North- 
ampton street to drain off the water. Large quantities of rice, flour 
and coal were either washed away or ruined. 

Much property was set afloat at Chailcstown and Cambridge port. 
The navy-yard was overflowed, and the tide broke through the cof- 
fer-dam, about three feet of water coming into the dry dock. 

On Scituate beach, two vessels went ashore. One of these was the 
stoop Globe, Captain Wakeman, master, bound from New York to 
Salem, with a cargo of flour and corn. She was bilged, one side 
being completely broken to pieces, A part of the cargo was landed 
on the beach but the grain washed out through the crevices that had 
been made in the bottom of the sloop. The other vessel was the 
schooner Edward of Boston, which had sailed from Savannah for its 
home port with a cargo of logwood. It was cast ashore in the night 
about four miles south of the Scituate lighthouse. The crew was 
saved. The vessel was not much injured, the masts having been cut 
away as soon as she struck. 



^■L, saved. T 
^^^ft away as » 



CHAPTER LXI. 
Tki Great Freshet of July, 1830. 

TILL the middle of July, the summer of 1830 had been very cold 
and wet in Vermont, The weather then suddenly and greatiy 
clianged, and the hottest July temperature prevailed, with a 
clear, calm sky. The thermometer stood at from ninety to ninety- 
four degrees during the succeeding week. Three days later there was a 
remarkable freshet. The rivers were swollen to a height never known 
there before, their banks being overflowed, and much property, in- 
cluding many bridges and mills, was destroyed. The flood desolated 
and ruuied the fields, badly washed highways, and destroyed bridges, 
greatly delaying travel. Some of the streams formed new channels. 
A person wrote from Burlington at that time that he doubted if any 
manufacturing establishment of large size remained within fifty miles of 
thai place. 

The freshet was also felt to a considerable extent in New Hamp- 
shire, and the Merrimac river was much swollen by the rains, some 
damage resulting from inundations. 

On Saturday, July 34, the day the storm began, the air was sultry, 
the wind being south. Rain commenced to fall between eight and nine 
o'clock in the evening, and continued all night, A great deal also 
fell on Sunday, by which time the mountam streams had become very 
much swollen. That night and all day Monday there were frequent and 
very heavy showers, which continued without much intermission until 
the following Thursday noon. During these five days at Burlington 
over seven inches of water fell, and more than one- half descended on 
the twenty-sixth. Much of the time the rain poured down in torrents, 
and the heaviest sheet of rain seemingly that any one ever witnessed fell 
on Sunday night at about a quarter before twelve. Thunder and light- 
ning accompanied it. The lowlands on the borders of all the streams 
were inundated, causing desolation and ruin, destroying property and 
(252) 



I 
I 



HISTORIC STORIIS Of NEW EKCLAfJD. 253 

human lives. The flood was as disastrous on the New York side of 
Lake Champlain as in Vermont. 

The banks of the Missisqui and La Moiile rivers were considerably 
inundated. At the great falls in Milton on the latter stream, where 
ihe river descends one hundred and fifty feet in fifty rods, the bridge, 
a trip-hammer shop, a fulling-mill and one other building were car- 
ried away, and the valuable grist-mill there was much damaged. 

Winooski, or Onion, river was greatly raised by the rain, being most 
afTected of the Vermont streams. The river passes through a wild 
and romantic country, and as it leaves the mountains on its way to the 
lake flows down with great rapidity. At Northfield, the mills and 
Pine's factory were much damaged. In Berlin, on Mad river, not a 
mill was left standing, and on Dog river all the bridges were carried 
away, the inieivales being overflowed and crops destroyed. A man 
by the name of Grant was drowned in the deluge of waters. In 
Montpelier, which was then a small village, the waterrose higher than 
it had ever been known to rise before, and caused considerabledaraage. 
Two of tlie bridges across the branch of the river in this town were 
swept away ; and that at the upper mills and the arched bridge across 
Onion river sufl'ered to some extent. A barber's shop that stood near 
the lower-branch bridge was carried away, anil another building was 
swept down the stream and finally lodged in ihe top of a tree about 
Haifa mile below the village. Many people had narrow escapes from 
death, but the only life lost in the village was that of a man named 
Bancroft, who belonged in Calais, he being drowned near Shepherd's 
tavern. A great amount of damage was done at Middlesex, the mills, 
carding and cloth-dressing works and the bridge over Onion river 
being all destroyed. From this place to Lake Champlain not a bridge 
was left standing on the river. At Moreton, a number of houses and 
bams were carried away, and the wifeof Capt. Harvey W. Carpenter, 
in attempting to leave the house for a neighbor's, was drowned. In 
Bolton, where the river passes through the Green mountains, the house 
and bams of a Mr. Pineo were carried away. His family escaped 
by fleeing to the mountains just in season to save their lives. At Hub- 
bel's falls in Essex, the toll bridge belonging to the Essex bridge com- 
pany, the clothing works and carding machine of a Mr. Haynes, and 
Capt. R. Butler's hemp machine and saw-mill were destroyed. The 
stone grist-mill there, whicli had been erected byjohn Johnson, Esq., 



«S4 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

in 1819, successful])' resisted ihe whole current of Onion river, which 
for several hours rushed against it to a depth of twenty-five feet with 
incredible velocity. In Colchester, the bridge at F. Brewster and 
company's works, which was nearly new, having cost eighteen hun- 
dred dollars, was carried away. The works there consisted of a saw- 
mill, oil-mill and woolen factory, and were valued at ten thousand dol- 
lars. They were all destroyed by the flood, but the principal part of 
the machinery, and the cloth and wool were saved. At Burlington, 
part of the then new bridge at the lower falls, and the whole of Messrs. 
Catiin's plaster-mill, blacksmith shop, coal-house and the dam above 
their upper fall were destroyed. It also broke away Messrs. Eddy, 
Munroe and Hooker's boom, letting about four thousand mill logs 
down the current. The saw mill of Messrs. Sinclair and Chittenden, 
with a large quantity of boards and other lumber, was also destroyed. 
The turnpike from Royalton to Burlington which follows the course of 
the Onion river, forming a romantic drive, was made absolutely im- 
passable a great part of the way, and for a considerable distance was 
washed away entirely. The intervale lands on both sides of the river 
were so flooded that they were made desolate. Crops of every de- 
scription were almost entirely destroyed, with most of the fences and 
many buildings. A small part of tlie grass had been cut, but the 
stacks and barns containing much of the hay were swept off. The in- 
tervale farm lands along the river in Burlington for a long time appeared 
like a lake. The wrecks of bridges, fences, barns, houses, mills, fur- 
niture, etc., constantly passed down the river, being thrown upon its 
banks, or collected in the eddies below the lower falls at Burlington. 

On the White river, and also on its upper branch, all the bridges 
ftom Roxbury to Royalton were carried away. At Braintree, three saw- 
naills were taken into the stream and swept down its current. In West 
Randolph, Ford's woolen factory and grist-mill, withall their machin- 
ery, and two houses were destroyed. At the village of Bethel on the 
upper branch of the river, Mr. Harvey's store was demolished and 
the fragments swept away, most of the goods being saved. 

On the Middlebury river. Freeman Parkell of Cornwall lost a flock 
of about a hundred sheep, which were drowned. Both Otter creekand 
Lemon-fair river cross this town, and at their junction they were con- 
siderably raised by the rain, two bridges being carried away. At Wey- 
bridge, Chase's saw-mill with the bridge near it on the turnpike was 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAh'D, 25$ 

swept off, and a farmer named Hurd had more than a hundred sheep 
drowned on the flats. The dams at Lincoln and Bristol gave way be- 
fore the immense body of water. The greatest amount of damage, 
however, was done at New Haven. After leaving the mountains the 
river flows with a rapid current through an open country, forming fer- , 
lile intervales until it reaches New Haven where the stream becomes 
narrow, with rugged precipitous banks, and thus continues about a mile 
until it enters Otter creek. 

At about tlie time the sun was setting on Monday, a very dark and , 
dense cloud settled over and aroutid the lofty mountains at Bristol, and 
rain fell in torrents on valley and mountain accompanied by inces- 
sant and vivid lightning wliich enlivened the scene for two hours, A 
flood of water rushed down the stream from the heights, causing the 
river to rise ten or twelve feet higher than it was ever known to be be- 
fore. At twelve o'clock it was at its height. Dams burst before it, 
and like a great tidal wave it rushed over the banks of the stream, 
flooding the country on either side. 

Just above the mills at New Haven, where the river makes a short 
turn to the north, a small rocky island divides the stream into two 
parts, known as the east and west, which however unite again before 
they reach the Wilson mills, as they were called in those days. The 
branches are four miles apart, and upon each had been erected mills, 
around which had grown up small villages, known as East Mills and 
West Mills. 

The small hamlet at the West mills was terribly affected by the 
flood. Just above the village the river had been dammed by an erec- 
tion formed principally of limber. On Monday night, when the rain 
fell in such great quantities, the water rushed down the stream, tear- 
ing away every barrier, and overflowing its banks. It filled the inter- 
vale on the east side of the river, -where the cluster of residences was 
situated, and carried ofT about twenty buildings. In the southeast 
part of the town two houses with a saw-mill were swept away, one 
family narrowly escaping with their lives. 

A few rods below the Wilson mills the river makes a short turn to 
the west and dashes through a narrow passage between rocks which 
is known as the narrows. Between ten and eleven o'clock that night 
the water there rose rapidly. John Wilson, who resided on a flat only 
a few rods from the stream, became alarmed lor the safety of his prop- 



aS6- HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

erty, and some of the neiglibors came to assist in its pceservatiS 
Justabove tlie Wilson mills there was a narrow bridge, and on it Miles 
Farr and his son crossed the riverfor the purpose of assisting Mr. Wibon 
and his son Erskine. While they were busily at work in andabout 
the mill, saving what they could from destruction, the water was ris- 
ing rapidly in all directions around them. A few minutes later the 
bridge over which Mr. Farr had come, together with the grist-mill 
and clothier works was swept away. The floating mass paused a. 
moment at the lowerbridge, which gave way, and all was throwQ down 
on the lower mills and dam. The men soon decided that they could 
do nothing more to save the mill and its contents, and that it was 
dangerous to remain in the building any longer. They started to go 
to Mr. Wilson's house, and were greatly astonished to find that a pow- 
erful stream of water was rushing along between the house and the 
high ground beyond. The Fans went to the Stewart house near by 
to assist the family to escape from their imprisonment, and Mr. Wil- 
son and his son went to their house, within which were Mrs. Wilson, 
her daughter Anna, two young children, and Mrs. Wilson's sister. 
After Mr, Wilson had looked around and observed how fast the water 
was rising around them, he became alarmed for their safety. They 
tried again and again to make their escape, but failed each time. Be- 
coming utterly discouraged, Mr. Wilson told his son that they would 
go into the chamber where the rest of the family were, and if they 
must perish they would al! go together. They accordingly retreated 
to the upper story, and had been there but a little while when the 
cellar wall was heard to give way, the chimney falling almost instantly 
afterward. Erskine was thrown into the water below through the aper- 
ture where the chimney had stood, and arose near the place where he 
he fell in, being helped out by his father. He was severely bruised. 
They watched the water as it speedily undermined the house, and the 
father and son went to the door that looked toward the road, know- 
ing that they must immediately make an eifort to save themselves 
and the family or they would all be lost. They had stood at the 
door but a moment when they felt the house move from its foun- 
dation. Being frightened and with the instinct of self-preservation, 
both leaped into the water and struggled to reach the shore, which 
they finally succeeded in doing. As soon as they were on land 
they looked after the house. Erskine discovered his sister Anna 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 257 

"holding the youngest child in her arms on what seemed to him to be 
the chamber floor. He distinctly heard Iier call him by name several 
times, imploring liim to save her and H[tle Sarah. He told her to 
throw the child into the water toward them, as far as she could, and 
then ju[np in herself. Either she did not understand liim, or had not 
the courage to perform such an act, or else she failed lo discern a 
chance of escape by doing so. The house was rapidly approaching 
the narrows. The father and son ran along on the land as fast as 
they could, hoping that the current would bring the house nearer the 
shore that they might be enabled lo save the inmates. Anna grew 
frantic with fright, as she saw that they could not save her. They saw 
the house enter the rapids as she was still beckoning lo them, but they 
never saw her again, all of the five persons in the house finding a 
watery grave. 

Near Mr. Wilson's house stood the home of Nathan Stewart, a blind 
man, who had a family of seven. When the Farrs and Wilsons came 
from Wilson's mills, the latter went lo their own house, and the Farrs 
to that of Mr. Stewart, knowing that as he was without sight he would 
probably need assistance as the water was rapidly rising. Lemuel B. 
Eldridge, Esq., another neighbor, was already there, having ridden 
on horseback through the current, but with such difficulty and so much 
danger that he considered il very hazardous to attempt to return that 
way. With him had come his son, of about twenty years of age, and 
his hired man by the name of Somers. The family had already left 
the house, and were seeking refuge in the barn, which stood on ground 
that was a little more elevated. Mr. Eldridge conceived the idea of a 
raft on which to take off the family, and the men immediately com- 
menced to build one at the comer of the woodhouse, using the barn 
doors and other materials at hand for that purpose. They were soon 
joined by one of the Stewart boys from the barn, who assisted them. 
The raft was completed, and they were about ready to take the fami- 
ly upon it, when the woodhouse was raised from its foundation, and 
swept down with the current. At that time they were all on the raft, 
except one man who was holding it just as the building started. He 
could no longer restrain the craft from being carried down the stream, 
and accordingly leaped upon it with his companions. The six men 
were hurried along toward the narrows, and all maintained their posi- 
tion upon the raft until they had reached that frightful place where in 



258 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. ^^^H 

a moment it was dashed into fragments, whicli were scattered here and 
there, and all the men were thrown into the seething waters. With 
his right hand, Mr. Farr grasped a plank that had formed a part of 
the raft, and soon found some other fragments which he seized 
with his left. Holding to these as his only hope of escape the cur- 
rent carried him down to the flat about half a mile below the mills, 
where he lodged against a large pine stump that had come down the 
stream and grounded. He had found something now, he thought, 
that would be safer than his planks, and he let them float away from 
him ; but in a moment a quantity of flood-wood came against the 
stump, and all were driven down the current. He was exhausted and 
felt that there was no chance of escape, yet he would not give up 
without one more struggle. He had succeeded in clearing the flood- 
wood away, when the stump again grounded. There he clung to it 
until morning came, and he was taken off by fiieiirily hands. Mr. 
Eldridge was carried nearly through the narrows before he could 
grasp anything to help support him above the water. Then he fortu- 
nately found a board, which enabled him to rest himself. He was 
driven out of the channel of the stream in the direction that Mr. Farr 
had been carried, and over a field of com. There he could touch 
bottom, and feel the stalks of corn, which he grasped, their roots 
being strongly enough embedded to enable him to successfully resist 
the current. Mr. Parr's son and young Stewart had been carried by 
the force of the stream to a point a little below where Mr. Eldridge 
was, and there they secured their safety. They caught a clapboard 
and some pieces of flood-wood, and cut up their suspenders, lashing 
them together, by means of which they extricated Mr. Eldridge from 
his position. When morning broke they saw Mr, Farr near them, and 
assisted him on shore. Of Mr. Somers nothing was ever known, and 
he must have been drowned soon after the raft broke up. Young El- 
dridge was helped by his father, who caught him in his arms several 
■times, being repeatedly torn away by the violence of the current and 
(the wrecks of buildings, and at last they separated to meet no more. 
When the raft started down the stream the Stewart family were still 
in the barn, Tliere were Mr. and Mrs. Stewart, and four of their chil- 
dren, the oldest son having been carried away on the raft. They 
■were helpless where they were. They had hoped that the raft which 
their kind neighbors had made would be the means of their preserva- 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 259 

tion, but tliat had been driven away from them down the turbulent 
stream and destroyed, with their son on board, who, as they thought, 
must have perished in the rapids. The water had now risen so high 
that they sought refuge on a scaffold, which soon after fell, proba- 
bly killing some of the family, and intact it was forced out into the 
current. In passing through the narrows it was crushed to pieces, 
and all the family perished except the fourteen-year-old son, who was 
wonderfully savfd by being driven against the top of a small tree, to 
the branches of which he clung until he was rescued the next morn- 
ing. He said that his mother was confined by some of the timbers of 
the bam, and that when they were in the narrows, just as the scaffold 
was dashed to pieces, she had hold of his hand and spoke to him. It 
was midnight darkness, and he saw her no more. 

Two families by the name of Farr had been taken from their houses 
on rafts in the midst of the storm and the darkness, one of them from 
the windows of the second story. In Col. William P. Nash's resi- 
dence, where his wife was confined to her bed by sickness, the water 
filled the lower part of the house, and the family remained all night 
in the upper rooms. Outside they heard, but could not see on ac- 
count of the intense darkness, the water surging and beating around 
them, and they passed the night in doubt and dreadful suspense. In 
the midst of the raging and increasing flood, which threatened at any 
moment to sweep them all into it, certain death seemed to be await- 
ing them, and there was apparently no means or possibility of escape. 
But the house held together, and they were saved. 

Another family had an interesting experience. They went to bed 
unconscious that such great danger lurked around them, and in the 
night the father, Mr. C. Claflin, was aroused by the noise of^the water 
about the house. He went to the door, and discovered that it had 
risen so high they could not escape. He could not see over the rag- 
ing flood, but heard it as it came rushing down, apparently growing 
higher and stronger as he stood there. Something must be done and 
that quickly. He thought of an elm tree that stood near, and con- 
ceived the plan of conveying his family into it for safety, feeling sure 
that if the house were carried away the tree would hold, He ac- 
cordingly, at that midnight hour, placed his children in it, and fas- 
tened them there by means of a rope that he took out of a bedstead. 
He also successfully aided his wife and their youngest child who 



260 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

wag only a few weeks old into the tree, and then climbed up into it 
himself. There they waited in this uncomfortable situation, perched 
among the wet branches of the elm in the darkness of night, know- 
ing that each moment the water was rising higher and higher around 
them. After several long weary hours had dragged away, the mot 
light broke, and rescuers came to thek relief. 

Many people were on the shores of the inundated territory that 
night, and they heard cries of distress, and shrieks and suppUcalions 
for assistance from iheir perishing neighbors and friends without being 
able to afford any relief. The night was intensely dark, and the waters 
lashed furiously against everything with which they came in contact, 

Fourteen persons lost their lives in the water at this little village on 
that night, and twenty-one buildings were carried away with all their 
contents. Among tlie buildings destroyed were the mills of John Foot 
and Champlain's storehouse, and the latter and his wife narrowly es- 
caped drowning. 

On Tuesday noon the river had fallen more than twelve feet, but 
vast body of turbid water was still rushing over the veryspot where th* 
houses and gardens of the unfortunate families had stood the night 
before, and nothing remained but naked rock. 

At the East mills, the bridge and dam, and a valuable woolen fac- 
tory, a grist-mill, a saw-mill, and other mills there were all swept away. 
The damage done in the county to individuals alone was upwards of' 
sixty thousand dollars. 

Crops on the smallest streams even were greatly injured. A week 
before, farmers rejoiced in an abundant han-est and in the prospect 
of the plenteousness of later crops. Now, many a tiller of the soil 
was in despair at the desolation that had assailed him in bam and 
field. 



CHAPTER LXII. 
Meteoric Display of 1833, 

ONE of the grandest and most remarkable exhibitions of natural 
phenomena ever witnessed in this part of the world was ob- 
served on the early morning of November 13, 1833. In all 
parts of the heavens, which were clear and serene, meteors fell like 
snow flakes or shot like sparks flying from a piece of fireworks. They 
were of various sizes, some being as small as fixed stars and others 
very much larger. They began to fall and shoot at midnight, and con- 
tinued until the stars faded away in the early morning, being most 
numerous at about four o'clock. The shooting meteors left luminous 
trails or traces of white light behind them of from half a yard to three 
yards in length, apparently, which slightly curved downward, and re- 
mained visible from three to five seconds. The meteors fell at times 
in such large numbers that they seemed like a shower of fire, by 
which name similar exhibitions are known in other portions of the 
world. Now and then, one much brighter and larger than the rest 
would shoot across the sky like vivid lightning. They fell about one- 
half as thickly as snowflakes fall in a common snow storm, with in- 
tervals when but few could be seen. They produced a sound like 
"whish, whish," gently spoken many times in different degrees of loud- 
ness. Great numbers were seen to explode like a rocket, sending 
forth trains of dazzling sparks, accompanied by an explosive noise. 
From time to time a sound, as of a body rushing through the air, was 
heard. The meteors seemed to have distinct nucleuses about half 
the size of Jupiter, some being larger and some smaller. 

The temperature had changed during the night and the morning 
was somewhat colder, the thermometer at Boston standing at thirty- 
nine degrees above zero. The slight wind there was came from the 
west. 

From two o'clock to daylight it was calculated that 207,840 of these 

(261) 



3 63 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 



bodies fell. At about half-past five, when they were flashing in the 
light of approaching sunrise, the heavens presented one of the most 
extraordinary, beautiful and sublime sights ever beheld by man. 

At Boston were noticed two very bright meteors, which reddened 
the steeple of a church by their light. They generally lighted up the 
country everywhere so that people were awakened by them, and sprang 
from their beds thinking that their houses were on fire. 

Such exhibitions are not very uncommon in the Arctic regions, and 
they have been witnessed in other parts of the world several times in 
the history of civilized nations, but this is the only instance that such 
a btijliant and magnificent spectacle has been seen by the inhabitants 
of New England. It may seem surprising that anything of this kind 
should alarm the people of the nineteenth century. Many persons, 
however, feared that the meteors would set the earlhon fire, and a con- 
flagration ensue, of which no one dared estimate the limits. The peo- 
ple of Amesbury, Mass., and some other sections of the country were 
considerably agitated on account of it. Such exhibitions have been 
seen in the older parts of the world before some great convulsion of 
nature, and the people here may have known of and remembered it. 




WinUr of I835-3&- 

THE summer of 1835 was dry and remarkably pleasant, but the 
winter following Was one of the severest seasons ever known 
in New England. It had many exceedingly cold days, and all 
the harbors from New York to Nova Scotia were thickly frozen over. 
Massachusetts bay was covered by the ice for a long distance from the 
shore. The first snow fell November 23, and from that time to the 
end of March snow storms came frequently, covering the earth to a 
great depth, and making excellent sleigliing, which continued forlwenty 
weeks. 

December 6, Sunday, was a bitter, cold day, with a high wind from 
the northwest. The harbor of Salem, Mass., was then frozen over 
as far as Nangus head. An incident of that day was the loss of the 
crew of a small craft bearing the name Bianca, in sight of their own 
homes at Pond hollow in Tniro, on Cape Cod. There were five of 
them, and they had been to Provincetown to ship their fish to Boston, 
for they were fishermen, and had started home this Sunday morning 
against the advice of older and wiser men. The sea was heavy, and 
the boat was capsized on ihe bar, all the men being drowned. 

Wednesday, December 16, was the coldest day that had been ex- 
perienced for many years, and taking the whole of the day it was the 
severest on record, being colder than either of the "Cold Fridays." 
The sun shone brightly, and a boisterous piercing wind prevailed 
throughout the day, rendering exposure to the open air scarcely en- 
durable. At Salem, Mass., the temperature at six o'clock in the morn- 
ing was eight degrees below zero. By nine o'clock it had risen three 
degrees, but immediately began to descend. At noon it was eight 
below, and two hours later twelve. During the next hour it rose about 
two degrees, but again descended, being at eight o'clock in the 
g eighteen below. At Greenfield, Mass,, at noon on tliat day it was 





^ 



b 



264 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

fifteen below. The next niorniiig it was seven below, and by noon at- 
Salem it bad risen to seven degrees above zero. Many fingers, noses 
and ears were frozen. An instance isrecorded of a judge, who, upon 
entering the courl-room immediaiely after returning from his moming 
ride on horseback, foujiil that his ears were frozen. The drivers of 
the stages on the eastern route sulTered much from frozen extremities. 
During the night many buildings were burned, probably on account 
of the great fires that were maJe to enable the people to keep warm, 
and there was such a demand for fuel that the price aLlvanced to an 
extreme limit. 

Through November and December there was that rare affliction, a. 
winter drought. The streams were so low that a considerable number of 
the manufacturing establishments were obliged to suspend operations, 
and many poor people were thus thrown out of employment in the 
middle of a liard winter. All wells were very low, and many dry. 
Water for domestic purposes was brought from a distance by teams. 
On Christmas night a slight thaw began, and fog and rain set in, which 
deared tlie ice out of many harbors. The rain fell quite copiously 
in central Massachusetts, carrying off most of the snow which was 
on the ground. The springs were not much affected by it, however, 
the ground being too much frozen to permit the water to go through 
it. 

The month of January was as severe as the preceding month had 
been. Many disasters to vessels on our coast occurred, and a num- 
ber of hves were lost. Among the wrecks was that of the brig Regii' 
lator, bound from Smyrna to Boston, which ran on an island in Bos- 
ton harbor. The foremast went by the deck, and ihe main top-mast 
followed, taking with it the head of the main-mast close to the rigging 
and the tops. It was low tide, and the sea broke over the decks, 
filling herwith water. As the tide rose she beat over the island. Some 
of the crew were lost, but Captain Phelps and several others climbed 
into the rigging, and there remained until rescued by the crew of the 
brig Cervantes, after they had struggled five hours in tlie waves try- 
ing to reach the wreck. The survivors were all more or less frozen. 
The rescue was very opportune as the vessel was already submerged 
only tlie bowsprit and a few otlier projections being above water. 

On Febi-uary i\, the three months' run of cold weather in eastern 
Massachusetts was broken and another tliaw set in. Tlie snow was 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 265 

deep everywhere, in the woods and fields and highways. In most of 
the streets of Boston the snow and ice had accumulated to from three 
to four feet in depth, and in many of the narrow streets was even deeper. 
The roofs of buildings were heavily burdened with it, and they leaked 
like sieves. As the thaw came on, people were afraid their roofe 
would break with the weight of snow, and they hurried to relieve them. 
Cellars were inundated, sidewalks and streets' were generally over- 
flowed and impassable. The scene there was interesting. Axes, 
hatchets, spades, shovels and brooms were called into use to counter- 
act the effects and avoid the inconvenience of a freshet. Young and 
old, large and small, black and white, rich and poor, people of all 
conditions and both sexes, with their various implements, from the pon- 
derous pickaxe to the broom, were industriously delving and digging to 
open passages fpr the water in directions away from their own prem- 
ises. 

April I, snow was four feet deep in the New Hampshire woods, and 
not a speck of bare ground was to be seen there on hill or in dale. 
The weather was still very cold. 



CHAPTER LXIV. 
Tilt Storms of December, i8jg. 

DURING the first two weeJcs of December, 1839, the weather 
was uncommonly pleasant, and without the least intimation of 
the terrible storms that were about to ravage the New England 
coast. Saturday, the fourteenth, was very mild, with a perfectly clear 
sky, and many vessels on our northeastern coast left their havens 
bound for Boston, New York and other southern ports. Soon after 
midnight snow began to fall and the wind to blow from the northeast, 
and they were driven down the coast, with the mist that ever exists in 
the Bay of Fundy, which shielded the breakers and bars from sight. 
The warning rays of the lights along the shore struggled to penetrate 
the heavy fog that shrouded the turbulent billows. 

The wind suddenly changed to the southeast, and during the night 
and the next forenoon many of the vessels that had left the ports of 
Maine and New Hampshire the day before were run into the nearest 
port for refuge. At noon the wind had greatly increased in violence, 
and in the afternoon it blew a gale in many places. The ocean 
has rarely been seen in such violent agitation, and possessed of such 
terrible power. Accompanied with mingled rain and snow, the storm 
continued all day ; and all along the coast the harbor scenes consisted 
of the vessels tossing on the darkened stormy waters, and blown by the 
wind and thrown about by the waves, being watched with intense in- 
terest and anxiety by the dwellers along the coast, who saw the fate 
of the hapless mariners in the awfiil breakers on the lee shore. Many 
people with willing hands and noble, stout hearts hastened to afford 
assistance if chance should offer, or it could avail. One after anotljer 
the vessels were seen to drift, and apparently hurry on to destruction, 
while many silent, earnest prayers ascended from the throngs on the 
beaches in behalf of the impotent mariners. Some bf the crafts 
turned over and went down at their anchors bottom up, with the 
C266) 



I 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 267 

crews, who were seen no more. The fearful end of many vessels, 
however, was checked by cmtiiig awny the masts. Others were steered 
for sandy beaches, upon which the wind drove thera, and with assist- 
ance from the people on shore, the Hves of most of the sailors were 
saved. Several of them were dashed upon rocks and shivered to atoms 
in a moment, in some instances the crews being saved in various ways 
by the strong arms of mariners who had battled with the waves and 
storms for years. As night came on the storm seemed rather to in- 
crease than diminish and the wind blew more violently than it had 
before during the storm, darkness with all its gloom settling down over 
the scene that was never to be effaced from the memory of those that 
witnessed it. The wind blew with mighty power and the sea raged 
all through the long night. Many persons remained on the beach 
during those dreadful hours to render aid, but they were rarely able 
to do so for the fury of the storm. About two o'clock in the morn- 
ing the wind veered to the northeast, and the gale somewhat abated. 
It continued to storm and the sea to rage, however, until late Mon- 
day night, but most disaster was caused Sunday night. The exact 
loss of life was never known, but it must have been great. The whole 
shore of Massachusetts was strewn with wrecks and dead bodies, and 
the harbors of Newburyport, Salem, Marblehead, Boston, Cohasset, 
Plymouth and Cape Cod were almost literally filled with disabled ves- 
sels. But on the shores of Maine and Connecticut the storm was less 
severe. On the land the force of the wind was terrific, many build- 
ings being blown down and hundreds of chimneys overturned. The 
tide rose higher than many of the highest water-marks then known. 
Inland as far as northwestern Massachusetts the snow fell in great 
quantities, and its depth rendered travelling almost impossible, the 
deep embankments in many places extending to the second story oi 
houses. This was the first snow storm of the season. 

At Boston, the tide rose higher than the old water-marks, and swept 
completely across the Neck, the force of the wind being so great that 
at the south part of the city on Sunday there was no apparent fall oi 
the water for three hours. Many chimneys, signs and blinds were 
blown down. A corner of the roof of the Maverick house and a part 
of the roof of the car-house at East Boston were blown away. Several 
vessels in the harbor had their masts carried away, and many were 
badly chafed. A ship and a brig were sunk at their wharves. Many 




a6S 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 



vessels dragged their aocliors, causing collisions, wliich sank scbaU 
crafts and greatly damaged large ones. The schooner Hesperus, which 
belonged in Gardiner, Maine, broke her anchor ciiain, and was driven 
by the wind against a dock, carrying away her bowsprit and staving 
the end of her jib-boom through the upper window of a four-story 
building. 

On the rocky shores of Nahant, at about four o'clock Sunday after- 
noon, the schooner Catherine Nichols, conimanded by Captain Wood- 
ward, and bound from Philadelphia to Charlestowa with a cargo of coal, 
was literally dashed to pieces. They had run in under the lee-shore, 
but the wind veered and drove them out. Thirty minutes later they 
had parted their cables and were driven on the peninsula. With great 
difficulty and the assistance of the people of the town, the captain aad 
three of the crew reached the shore in safely. One of these, John 
Whiton of New Bedford, as they brought him from the water ex- 
claimed "Oh ! dear," and upon reaching the shore he motioned to 
them to put him down, which was done, and he immediately died. 
Levi Hatch, another of the crew, was drowned, or died from the effects 
of bruises before he came to land. He belonged in North Yarmouth, 
where he left a wife and two children. The mate staid by the ves- 
sel to the last, and died amidst the roaring surf, his body being found 
jammed in among the rocks almost entirely naked. John Lindsay of 
Philadelphia, another of the crew, was last seen clinging to the rigging, 
which with the foremast, the last one to fall, drifted out to sea, and 
he was never heard of again. The bodies of Whiton and Hatch were 
taken to Lynn, and buried on Tuesday from the First Methodist church, 
the pastor Rev. Mr. Cook, preaching a sermon, after which the citi- 
zens followed the remains to the cemetery. 

In the harbor of Marblehead several vessels were injured, the 
masis of some were cut away, and quite a number of schooners were 
driven on shore. The schooner Faiil Jones was forced high upon the 
rocks, where she became bilged. Another schooner named Sea Flower 
was driven on the beach and wholly lost, together with part of her 
cargo which consisted of four hundred bushels of com and one hun- 
dred and twenty barrels of flour. 

At Salem, (he wind did not blow very strongly, and litde damage 
was done in the harbor. A few vessels were slightly injured by chaf- 
ing against the wharves, and a small schooner was driven up Forest 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 269 

river near the bridge. Several chimneys and two bams in the vicinity 
of Bridge street were blown down. 

The scene in Gloucester harbor during this storm has never been 
equalled in any other New England port. Many vessels sought this 
haven of refuge from the tempest, and in all as many as sixty were 
there during the gale. Between three and four o'clock on the after- 
noon of Sunday, they began to drift, dragging their anchors or break- 
ing the cables that bound them. Upon the beach were many willing 
fishermen to assist the mariners if it were possible. Within plain sight 
of them lay a schooner to whose shrouds were lashed three men. 
On all the coast of New England at that time, it is said, there was not 
a single life-boat, and no other small craft could live between the 
wreck and the shore. With full knowledge of this, the shipwrecked 
mariners bore their sufferings in silence, until finally as the rigging 
swayed to and fro by the motion of the waves, they were submerged 
and drowned. As another vessel approached the breakers, two men 
tried to escape death in their boat ; but had scarcely loosed from the 
vessel when a merciless sea swept them into eternity. Such scenes con- 
stantly occurred before the eyes of the kind-hearted Cape Ann fisher- 
men, and they were nerved to exert themselves in the face of the great 
dangers of the storm. With ropes tied to their bodies, they repeat- 
edly leaped from the rocks and saved many lives. 

On Monday morning only a single mast was left standing in the har- 
bor. Twenty-one vessels were driven ashore, three schooners sank, 
and seventeen were so thoroughly dashed to pieces that in some cases 
no fragment larger than a plank was left. Twenty vessels still rode in 
the harbor, all but one without masts, they having been cut away. From 
each vessel a slender pole stood to bear aloft a signal of distress. They 
were tossing like egg-shells upon the still raging sea, liable at any 
moment to part their cables and be driven to sea with all on board. 
The pieces of twenty-two wrecks were scattered along the shore, 
scarcely any one of which being larger than a horse could draw. The 
crowd had staid on the beach all night to give assistance if it were 
possible. On the following afternoon as soon as it was considered safe 
to do so, a brave volunteer crew under the direction of Capt. William 
Carter procured the custom-house boat, and pulled out to the vessels 
that still floated, taking the weary and suffering seamen to the shore. 
The shipwrecked men were obliged to jump from their decks into the 



fija MlSrORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

boat, 3B the sea was still too violent to enable the gallant little craft to 
apf roach nearer. One of the vessels, just after her crew were taken 
off, drifted out of the harbor and was never again heard from. 
:■ But thafr night the calm, low voice of the Unseen was heard by the 
elemeoft) "Peace, be still," — the tempest went down, the wind was 
ialj^ away, and the mighty waves ceased their madness, sinking into 
^repose as quiet as that of a child after a hard day's play. The next 
morning's sun revealed Che fragments of the many wrecks strewn along 
the beach, mixed with spars and rigging. But this was not all, for the 
articles of the varied cargoes, the persona! effects of the seamen, 
"And the corpses lay on the shining sand — 
On the shining sand when the tide went down." 

To the shipwrecked mariners was extended every relief and com- 
fort thai humanity could devise, and on that evening a public meeting 
of the citizens was held in the town to adopt means for their assistance. 
The exact loss of life wjs never ascertained. About forty lives were 
believed to have been lost, including the persons who perished by the 
wreck of a schooner near Pigeon cove, and twenty were known to 
have died, though only twelve bodies were recovered. The remains 
were tenderly cared for. One of the bodies was taken away by friends, 
and the funeral of the other deceased marine.s was held at the 
Unitarian church on the following Sunday afternoon. All the other 
churches in the town were closed, the clergymen attending and taking 
part in this service. The pastor of the church, Rev. Josiah K. Waite, 
preached a sermon from the words, "Thou did'st blow with thy wind, 
the sea covered them : they sank as lead in the mighty waters."' The 
people of the town were so deeply in sympathy with the occasion that 
between two and three thousand persons listened lo the exercises. 
In the church the eleven coffins were arranged in front, and at the 
close of the sen'ices were placed in carriages prepared for their con- 
veyance, being appropriately shrouded in national flags. The vast 
congregation formed in a procession, which was nearly a mile in length, 
and followed the remains of the mariners to the public tomb. The 
dead were Capt, Amos Eaton, Peter Gott and Aipheus Golt, all of 
Mount Desert, Maine, William Hoofses and William Wallace, both 
of Bremen, Maine, Reuben Rider of Eucksport, Maine, Joshua Nick- 



HISTORIC STORMS OF MEW ENGLAND. 27I 

erson, Isaac Backer, Philip Galley, a Mrs, Hilton, and two other per- 
sons whose names are unknown. The remains of Mrs. Hilton were 
taken to Boston before the funeral by friends in that city, and later 
in the season the bodies of Nickerson and Backer were removed by 
water to their homes. 

At Ipswich, another sad shipwreck was added to the list, which is 
already much too long. The storm was as violent in Ipswich bay as 
at Gloucester, and the schooner Deposit from Belfast, Maine, com- 
manded by Captain Cotterell, was hurried before it through the foam- 
ing breakers on the sandy beach near the light-house at midnight 
on Sunday, Although the vessel was on the beach the heavy surf 
in which no boat could exist was between it and safety. The waves 
washed over the wreck continually from midnight till dawn, and the 
seven persons in the rigging and elsewhere about the wreck managed 
to prevent themselves from being swept off by the wind and waves, 
in several instances, however, only to survive that they might die from 
the cold and exposure. Before daylight came, the strength of a boy 
had failed, and he was lying in the scuppers dead, and a negro, be- 
coming exhausted, had lain down and died. At daybreak, only five 
were alive. The storm was still raging with unabated fury, and threat- 
ened every moment to dash the remaining persons from their hold. 
Their feelings cannot be described. Was there no one on the shore 
to aid them ? They screamed for help ; 

"And ever the fitful gusts between 
A sound came from the land; 
It was the sound of the trampling surf 
Upon the hard sea-sand." 

A man named Marshall was at the beach on that Monday morning, 
and discovered the wreck. He gave an alarm, and then he and Mr. 
Greenwood, the keeper of the light-house, went as near as they pos- 
sibly could to the vessel. It was apparent that no boat could pass 
in safety through the surf. But the piteous cries for help from the 
sufferers, among whom was the captain's wife, nerved them to desper- 
ate action. Mr. Greenwood dashed into the water, and after an almost 
overpowering struggle with the waves arrived at the vessel. With a 
rope he hauled Mr. Marshall and a boat to the wreck. The captain 
who was completely exhausted and almost senseless, was first lowered 



a?! 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 



into the boat which Marshall was keeping close to the vessel. But 
a wave instantly upset it, and threw them both into the surging water. 
Marshall went under the wreck, but on rising to the surface caught 
hold of a rope and saved himself, but the captain was so exhausted 
that he was drowned. His wife saw him as he was buried beneath 
tMe billows and her shrieks rose high above the thunders of the storm. 
Two of the crew were helped to the shore, one of thetn by floating on 
a boom. Mrs. Cotterell, wife of the captain, was lowered from the 
stem of the vessel by ropes, and the two rescuers standing in the surf 
received her in their arms as she came down to the surface of the 
water. They then waited until a mighty wave came, which they al- 
lowed to carry them all on shore. On the beacli was a farm-house, then 
owned and occupied by Humphrey Lakeman, a retired sea-captain, 
to which the three survivors were conveyed, and medical aid pro- 
cured. The two men that were saved were George Emery and 
Chandler Mahoney. The bodies of the lost were taken to the village 
and properly buried on the Wednesday following. The funeral was 
held at the South church, and was attended by a great number of peo- 
ple, who followed the remains to the cemetery. Sixteen sea-captains 
acted as pall bearers. The people of Ipswich had never before been 
so affected by any incident. The sadness of the wreck, the dead, the 
saved, and the actions of the two noble-hearied self-sacrificing men 
touched sympathetic chords in every breast. The crew were ail young-, 
and that fact added to the general sorrow. The expression upon the 
faces of the deceased, and especially that of one named Dunham, 
was peculiarly sweet, as if they were enjoying a most refreshing and 
peaceful sleep of the body rather tlian that from which tlicy would 
never again awake. The survivors remained in the town until they 
were sufRciently restored to travel, receiving every comfort and at- 
tention. 

At Newburj-port, the tide overflowed the wharves on the river side, 
and large quantities of wood and lumber were floated away. Some 
fifteen or twenty fishing schooners that were lying at the wharves 
suffered more or less damage by chafing, and a large number of other 
vessels that were anchored in the harbor were more or less injured. 

The second severe snow storm of this month began on Sunday, the 
twenty-second, and the next morning the wind was fiercely blowing 
from the northeast. The stonn continued all through the day, and 




HlSroaiC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 273 

^now fell in such quantities that railroads in Massachusetts wece 
blocked, and great damage was done on both land and sea, many ves- 
sels being driven ashore and more or less damaged. The storm 
reached as far south as Baltimore, where snow began to fall as eariy 
as Saturday. 

Tlie northern portion of Plum island was so flooded that the keeper 
of the light-house could not get to it. The water flowed quite across 
the island, in a number of places, making deep ravines, and causing 
many acres of grass land to be covered with sand. The liotel, which 
was then conducted by Capt. N. Brown, was entirely surrounded by 
water and the turnpike road and the bridge were flooded. Sand-hills 
twenty feet high were carried off and others equally large were formed. 
The whole eastern shore of the island was washed away several rods 

Tlie storm was indelibly impressed upon the minds of the people 
of Newburyport by the wreck at Plum island of the brig Pocahontas, 
Capt. James G. Cook, master, bound from Cadiz to Newburyport, 
it having sailed from Cadiz in the latier part of October. She had set 
sail first in September, but, being run into by a Spanish ship, was so 
much damaged tliat she had to return for repairs. The crew con- 
sisted of the officers and nine hands before the mast. The brig meas- 
ured two hundred and seventy-one tons, and had been built in 1830. 
Her masts had been carried away by the terrible wind, and she had 
probably been anchored in the evening, but in the darkness and the 
Winding snow, the mariners did not know that they were so near the 
sandy beach. The anchor dragged, and stern first she was driven on 
the reef, where she thumped until the stetn was stove in, the noble 
vessel at length being torn lo pieces. It had been driven upon a reef 
about one hundred and fifty yards from the beach, at a point half a 
mile east from the hotel, which was the most dangerous place on the 
island. Soon after daylight on Monday morning, Captain Brown, the 
keeper of the hotel, discovered the vessel, and news of the disaster 
was quickly conveyed to Newburyport. A few minutes later amidst 
the roar of the storm the cry rang through the streets that a wreck 
was on Plum island. A number of humane men from the lower part 
of the town donned their thickest and heaviest boots, and quickly 
hastened over the marshes to the sandy island, which was trembling 
ider the tremendous roll of the maddened waves. 



^^der the tre 

L 



«74 



HISTORIC STORMS Of NEW ENGLA*JD. 



The deck of the brig was siippeiy, the ropes stiff and glazed, and 
the cries and shrieks of its human burden were drowned by the 
cruet winds and the roar of the ocean. Tons of water were rushing 
down the hatchways. VVhen the vessel was first noticed, ihree men 
were seen upon it, one of them being lashed to the lalfrail, and nearly 
or quite naked, apparently dead, and two were clinging to the bow- 
sprit. In a short time and before the intelligence of the wreck had 
reached the town, only one man^ who was clinging to the bowsprit, re- 
mained, and mountainous waves were rolling over him. Stijl he 
■clung with a desperate grip. To his rescue, a number of hardy young 
■men, veritable sons of Neptune, insisted upon going through the tre- 
mendous sea with Captain Brown's little skiff, the vessel being too far 
away to throw a life-saving line to it, and even if it had not been the 
.man was evidently too much exhausted to avail himself of such means 
■of escape. They hauled the boat over the beach for three-fourths of 
a mile, but finding it impossible for any common boat to live one mo- 
ment in that terrible surf, they very reluctantly abandoned their plan. 
The ill-fated man maintained his position on the vessel for several 
hours, growing so weak that at one time he lost his hold, but luckily 
regained it. Still the unpitying storm beat on. The men could only 
look at each other through the falling snow, from land to sea, from sea 
to land, and each realized how impotent they all were. Just before 
inoon, the mariner was a second time swept by the heavy sea from the 
toowsprit, which also immediately followed him, and this time he was 
«een no more. A few minutes later the ivreck was washed in and cast 
upon the beach. A man was found lashed to the vessel and he 
-was still breathing, but so exhausted that he simply drew a few breaths, 
and tlien all was over. The sea had beaten over him so fiercely and 
continually thai his clothes were almost washed off from him. 
Whether the majority of the crew perished by the cold and exposure 
or were washed from the vessel by the waves will never be known, as 
not one of the thirteen souls on board survived to tell the tale. The 
people were deeply affected at knowing that young Captain Cook, toil- 
worn as he was, after beating about on a stormy coast for several days, 
should be wrecked, and perish within sight of Ihe smoke ascending 
from his own hearthfire. The bodies of several of [tie unfortunate men 
washed ashore and were taken up on the beach at some distance from 
the wreck, the small boat belonging to the brig lying near them indi- 



HISTORIC STORMS Or NEW ENGLAND. 275 

eating that they had attempted to reach the shore in it, probably about 
daylight. In all, there were recovered the bodies of the captain, first 
male, who was Albert Cook, also of Newbuiyport, and seven others of 
the crew, who were strangers. Captain Cook's funeral was on Satur- 
day, and after several days had passed, it having become almost cer- 
tain that no more bodies would be found, the other eight corpses, 
with the American flag thrown over each of them, were borne into 
the broad ais!e of the South church in Newburyport, while the bells 
were being toiled. Amid a concourse of twenty- live hundred persons, 
a solemn prayer was offered over the remains of these human waifs, 
untimely thrown upon o«r shores, and then they were borne at the 
head of a procession numbering several hundred persons, to the cem- 
etery, while the bells were again solemnly tolled, and flags hung at 
half-mast from the vessels in the harlior. 

At Nanlasket beach, on Monday, at about noon, the bark Lloyd al 
Pordand, Maine, bound from Havana to Boston, and commanded by 
Captain Mountfort, with masts gone, went on shore. The weather 
was still very thick, and a heavy sea was running, ihe surf being so high 
thai no boat could put out to its assistance. Four of the crew lashed 
themselves to the rigging. The six other persons on the vessel succeeded 
in getting out and launching the long boat, into which they got, but 
the mighty waves upset it, and they were drowned. Finally the vessel 
was dashed to pieces, and all on board perished, with the exception 
of George Scott, an Englishman, who floated on an oar within reach 
of the people on the beach, and they pulled him out of the water 
when he was nearly exhausted. Captain Mountfort, who had lashed 
himself to the rigging, was brougl-.t ashore in a boat belonging to a 
vessel that was lying near, which also sufTeied from the storm, after 
three perilous efforts had been made to reach him, and was immediately 
taken into one of the huts of the Humane Society, every effort to re- 
suscitate his insensible body being made, but in vain. He was the 
oldest shipmaster that then sailed out of Portland, and was much 
respected. 

During the middle of the week, the weather was unusually fine for 
the season, but just before noon on Friday, another terrible storm 
began, this time of rain, which fell in small quantities, however. It was 
more tempestuous than either of the other stonns had been, and the 
from the east- southeast, increasing during the niglit to a 



»tiiidc 



ajS HISTORIC STORMS OF MEW ENGLAND. ^^^1 

violent gale, and reaching its height toward morning. It coDtinued 
thirty hours in all, and brought in tlie tide to a great height, overflow- 
ing the wharves, and doing more or less damage to nearly all of them. 

At Portland, Maine, the storm was very violent, and a number of 
vessels were injured. The tide rose so high that the sea swept over 
Tukey's bridge, and the Eastern stage was not able to pass that way. 

At Newbutyport, Mass., the tide overflowed the wharves, and floated 
off and destroyed a large amount of property. The damage done to 
the shipping in the harbor was much greater than had occurred in 
the other storms. Forty-one of the one hundred and thirty vessels 
there were more or less severely injured by chafing, collisions and sink- 
ing. 

In Gloucester, the storm was severer than it was on the fifteenth, 
the wind being extremely fierce. At limes it seemed as if everything 
would be swept before it. Houses almost tottered upon (heir founda- 
tions, and it was a fearful as well as a sleepless night to the people of 
the tmvn. The tempest was at its height from four to six in the morn- 
ing, but all night long the roar of the wind and sea was frightful. Few 
vessels were in the harbor, and several of those were lost. One of 
the wrecks was that of the brig Hichmond Packet belonging in Deer 
Isle, Captain Toothaker, commander, and bound from Richmond to 
Newburyport with a cargo of corn and flour. It was driven ashore 
on a point of rocks and went entirely to pieces. Beside the crew, 
the captain's wife was on board. When the vessel struck, the cap- 
tain jumped overboard with a rope and succeeded in getting safely 
upon the rocks, where he made the rope fast. By its means he en- 
deavored to rescue his wife, but just as he was ready to do so, the 
brig gave a sudden lurch, and the rope snapped. Jjiter Mrs. Tooth- 
aker was let down upon a spar inlo the water, hoping that upon that 
limber she would float ashore, but she had hardly reached the waves 
when a hea>7 sea swept her from the support. With a loud cry, she 
went down, and was seen no more until her lifeless body was discov- 
ered on the rocks. The crew were all saved. 

At Salem, all the wharves suffered more or less, and everjihing was 
swept off them. Several vessels were forced from their moorings, there 
were some collisions, and a few ships and schooners were driven on 
shore. It was necessary to cut away a large number of masts. A 
small old house in the lower part of the town was blown down, the 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 277 

roofs of several sheds were torn off, and a number of chimneys injured. 
At several places on the railroad, the road-bed was washed away for 
a distance of one or two hundred feet each, preventing the progress 
of trains through the forenoon of Saturday. The mails from Boston 
were brought over the road in stages. 

In Boston, more damage was done than in the storm of the fifteenth. 
The injuries to shipping were very extensive, wharves were overflowed, 
and lumber, wood, coal, etc., were swept away. The Front street dike, 
as it was called, was broken down, and water covered nearly all the 
low land between Front and Washington streets, from the Neck to 
Northampton street. It also came into Water street, and damaged 
dry goods in cellars to a large amount. The causeway leading to 
Dorchester, and the lower streets of the city were submerged, so 
much damage being done that crowds from the surrounding towns 
came to see it. 

The large, beautiful ship Columbiana, of six hundred and thirty 
tons burden, one of A. C. Lombard and company's line of New Or- 
leans packets, parted her cables at about four o'clock in the morning 
at Swett's wharf in Charlestown, where she was loading with ice. The 
wind took her on the flow of the tide, and drove her completely 
through the Charlestown bridge, carrying away two piers, as though 
there had been no obstruction there. The vessel then struck Wanen 
bridge on its side, the mate having succeeded in bringing her into 
that position. The bridge was considerably injured, but it withstood 
the shock. The stern then quickly swung around, and struck the 
wharf which was built out from the draw with such violence that it 
demolished a dwelling-house one and a half stories in height, that was 
standing on the bridge, being occupied by the draw- tender. In the 
house were nine persons, who were in bed at the time, and they es- 
caped without injury. One of them was thrown into the river when 
the concussion occurred, but was rescued by his companions. The 
ship was uninjured, in spite of her violent freak. 

The storm was so severe at Provincetown, on Cape Cod, that the 
damage done to the shipping and the property on the wharves amounted 
to fifty thousand dollars, and many of them were entirely carried 
away, several persons being injured. Cellars of houses were inundated 
and a considerable number of the inhabitants were obliged to seek 
shelter elsewhere. Ten or eleven stores were knocked down by the 



X'jB HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

vessels, two salt-mills weie blown down, a.nd many salt works were 
carried away. 

The snows of tliis winter of 1839-40 were deeper and more se- 
vere than those that the old people of that time remembered. In the 
valleys in the western part of Massachusetts, snow was two feet deep 
through the winter, and on the Berkshire hills four feet. Many roads 
remained unbroken on account of it, and people travelled about on 
snow shoes. In many places the snow was fifteen feet deepj and trav- 
ellere passed over the diifts in well-trodden paths. In Chesterfield a 
man died, and the snow was so deep that for four days the family 
could not get to a neighbor's house for assistance. But the sea-shore 
witnessed the greater suffering. The month of December, 1839, was 
indelibly fixed in the minds of multitudes as one of the most awful sea- 
sons tliat tliey had ever known. If all the disasters that occurred 
along our coast were known and written out an immense volume would 
be the result. We do not put it too strongly when we say that up- 
wards of three hundred vessels were wrecked, a million dollars' worth 
of property was destroyed, and more than a hundred and fifty lives 
were lost in these three storms. How many widows and orphans 
aiterward sat at the windows of their cottages at Mount Desert and 
many other places looking for the sails that they knew so well, yet 
not daring to hope that they would see them again I 

"Looking oul over the sea. 
From a granile rim of shore. 

Looking nut longingl)',weaTil/, 

Over a turhulenl, pitiless sea. 
For the sails that cume no more. 
WEiting and watching with tear-wet eyes 
Till the last faint hope in the boaom dies; 
While the waves crawl up o'er the chill white aand. 
Those watchers long for a clasping hand, 
And turn away with a thrill of pain, 
But often pause to look afiain 
From the rough dark rocks of the sea-beat shore, 
Foe the gleam of snowy sails once more; 

Sadly, longingly, wearily. 

Looking out over the sea." 



CHAPTER LXV. 
The ''October Gale;' 1841. 

IN the latter part of September, 1841, was a long, unbroken spell of 
uncomfortable weather, which culminated m a violent and cold 
storm of wind, snow and rain on the night of October 2, con- 
tinuing four days. From September 30 to October 6, inclusive, five 
and sixteen-hundredths inches of water fell. It snowed in northern 
New England, snow falHng at Amherst, N. H., to the depth of six 
inches. It soon melted, however. It rained in southern New Eng- 
land, though in eastern Massachusetts, there was some snow with 
the rain, and in the western part of the state snow fell in great quan- 
tities, being a foot deep on the hills in Hampden county. 

At sunset on Saturday, the second of the month, the wind came 
lightly from the northeast. It soon freshened and at eleven o'clock 
was blowing very hard. At midnight it blew a gale, and rain began 
to fall in Massachusetts and snow in New Hampshire. The violence 
of the wind continued to increase during the hours of darkness, until 
it became the cause of disaster on both sea and land. On Sunday 
morning, the sua rose clear, but it immediately went into black clouds, 
and the sky looked wild. At eleven o'clock in the forenoon a heavy 
sea was running all along the coast, and vessels were being thrown upon 
the rocks and beaches. The wind continued to blow all day, and 
at eight o'clock in the evening was still a gale. In fact, it did not 
produce its strongest force until two o'clock Monday morning. At 
daybreak it seemed as fierce as ever, having veered slightly to the 
north, but during the afternoon it abated considerably and continued 
to moderate until Tuesday morning. By ten o'clock a beautiful au- 
tumn day was gladdening the hearts made heavy by the destruction 
of property and lives. 

On the land, trees were stripped of many of their small branches 
and leaves, a great deal of fruit was destroyed, and chimneys and 

(279) 



I HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

buildings were blown down. On the sea, tlie gale was so terrific that 
iltore the newest and strongest canvas into shreds and masts and 
spars of vessels were carried away. The ocean roared as though with 
unbridled madness, and its waves ran mountain high, throwing their 
spray far into the sky, and forming a majestic yet fearful sight. 
Many vessels were wrecked on the water and on the shores. 

In the harbors, vessels broite away from their moorings and col- 
lided or dashed against the wharves or upon the shore, some being 
sunk or afterward found at sea without a person on board. The tide 
rose so high tliat on Sunday wharves were covered and marshes sub- 
mei^ed for long distances inland. 

In the harbor of Portland, Maine, several vessels went ashore and 
became complete wrecks. At Portsmouth, N. H., the vessel named 
Maine, belonging to. Bath, parted her cables and was driven out of 
the harbor on Monday morning. She was forced into Massachusetts 
bay, where she struck on Cohasset rocks at nine o'clock in the fore- 
noon, and went ashore on Scituate beach, becoming a total wreck. 
There were on board seven passengers, four women and three men, 
and the crew which numbered four. The vessel was commanded by 
Captain' Blen of Dresden, Maine, and wilh him was his daughter 
Miss Martha I, Blen. The captain, his daughter, five passengers, in- 
cluding all the women and one man, and one seaman perished. 

At Cape Ann, only one human hfe was lost. Since the storms of 
December, 1839, a hfeboat had been obtained, and it was attempted 
to use it in this storm, but in getting it off the bottom was stove in. 
Vessels were snatched as it were from the waves and dashed into 
fragments among the rock;. The gale was most disastrous at Pigeon' 
cove. Tlie fisher dwellers there lost fourteen of their entire fleet of 
sixteen vessels. One of the tivo that were saved was thrown on the 
sand and much injured, and the other was at Squam. Many fish 
houses and fish flakes, togetlier with about sixty barrels of mackerel, 
two hundred hogsheads of salt, and three hundred empty barrels 
were destroyed. This great loss of about fifty thousand dollars in 
value fell upon a class that was little able to bear it, for nearly all they 
had was invested in the fishing interest, and the vessels and other 
things necessary in carrying on the business. Public meetings were 
held at Rockport, Salem, and other places, in behalf of these honest, 
hardworking and worthy fishermen. The great loss there was on ac- 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGIAND. 281 



count of the destruction of the breakwater, that had been built in 
1832 at an expense of seventeen thousand dollars by individuals in 
Gloucester, Rockport, Newburyporl, and other commercial places. 

On the Island of Nantucket, several vessels at the docks were con- 
siderably injured, and the tide rose two or three feet above the 
wharves, running into most of the lower streets. Large quantities of 
lumber and cord-wood were strewn in various directions. In the 
village of Siasconset, the high bank or bluff at the front of the hamlet 
overlooking the sea, gave way for some considerable distance, and 
the residence of Marshall Crosby with two bams was preciphated down 
the cliff. A man by the name of Hussey fell down the same place 
and had his thigh broken. But the most disastrous effect of the 
storm was on the land. The then new and extensive rope walk be- 
longing lo Barker and Athern, and occupied by Joseph James, was 
swept from its foundation and torn into fragments, leaving only the 
lar-house and part of the hemp-house standing. A large portion of 
Isaac Myrick's ropewalk was also demolished. The observalory, two 
or three bams 01 carriage-houses, and several chimneys were blown 

I down. During Sunday night, every btiilding trembled under the pres- 
inre of the furious elements, but few people were free from alarm and 
|»nsternation and, as a wriier of that time facetiously wroie, "not 
Ipany slept without rocking." 
i The greatest loss of life and properly in this storm occurred on 
Cape Cod. The beach from Chatham to the highlands was literally 
Btrewn with parts of wrecks. Between forty and fifty vessels went 
ashore on the sands there, and fifty dead bodies were picked up. At 
Hyannisport, several vessels were cast on the beach, one of which 
was the schooner Franklin, which first capsized, the cook and a sea- 
man named Newcomb being lost. One of the crew of the schooner 
Tangent, another vessel there, fell overboard from the mast-head and 
was drowned. The schooner Bride, belonging in Dennis, was driven 
ashore and the bodies of the crew, eight in number, were found in the 
cabin. In this storm the town of Dennis lost twenty-six of her 
most active and promising men, many of whom were just entering 
upon manhood, and eighteen of them had been schoolmates, leaving 
kindred liviiig within a quarter of a mile of each other. The schooner 
Forest of Gloucester, commanded by Capt. Stephen Rich, was lost 
while mackereling, with its crew of eight men. The schooner ElUs, 



aSa HISTORIC storms of new England. 

of Plymouth, went ashore on the east side of Truro, a little north of 
the Highland light, and Capt. Joseph Dunham, the master, and his 
crew of eight were all drowned. The schooner Industry, belonging 
in Halifax, and bound for Argyle, N. S., also went ashore near the 
same place losing three men. Another schoojier, Spitfire, also be- 
longing in Halifax, was wrecked about half a mile below Race 
point. From it were lost the captain, two seamen, and a lady pas- 
senger about twenty years of age. The male passengers were saved. 

Most of the vessels of Tniro, Mass., were on or near the southwest 
part of George's banks, and on the night of the second, (he crews 
left off fishing, and made sail to run for the highland of Cape Cod. 
Mighty ocean currents tliat tliey had never encountered before car- 
ried them out of their course to the southeast, but being disabled by 
the gale they were driven upon the Nantucket shoals, wliich extend 
fifty or sixty miles into the ocean, southeasterly from the island of that 
name. These unfortunate mariners were nearly all yomig men under 
thirty years of age. Fifty-seven from Truro were lost and buried in 
the great ocean cemetery. 

One of the vessels belonging to Truro was the Altair, with a crew 
of six, of which Capt. Elislia Rich was master. They had been fish- 
ing near George's banks, and were on their way home, when both 
vessel and crew were destroyed on the Nantucket shoals. 

Another of the vessels belonging to Truro, that had been associated 
with the Altair in its trip, and was also destroyed with its cargo and 
crew, was the Arrival, Capt. Freeman Atkins, jr., master. The rest 
of the crew consisted of eight men. 

The Cincinttatus, also belonging to Truro, commanded by Capt. 
John Wheeler, was a large able vessel, and had been fishing, on the 
second day, in the hook of the Isie of Sable. She started homeward 
with the rest of the fleet, and was wrecked with many of the other 
vessels on the Nantucket shoals. The crew of ten men were all lost. 

The Dalmatian, Capt. Daniel Snow, master, was another of the 
Tniro vessels that went down with all on board on the shoals off Nan- 
tucket, having come in with the fishing fleet from George's. There 
were on deck twenty or thirty barrels of salted mackerel. The ves- 
sel was last seen at about eight o'clock Sunday morning, off Cap6 Cod 
with the rest of the fleet, apparently in a comfortable condition. Ten 
men constituted the whole of the crew. 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. iSj 

Another fishing vessel, the Garnet, of Truro, commanded by Capt. 
Joshua Knowles, aiso of Truro, left Proiincetown on Saturday, the 
second, and at sunset was about three miles out from tlie head ol 
Pamet, engaged in fishing. Soon after he spolte wiih the Vespe, 
Dennis, that was returning home from George's banks. Tliey 
ported good fishing there, and so the crew of the (Jurw.*/ concluded 
to go down and iry iheir luck. Heading in tliat direction, they put 
on all sail, for the wind was blowing lightly and from the northeast. 
It soon breezed up, and at ten o'clock the "light" sails were taken in. 
At twelve o'clock the wind was blowing a gale, and the mainsail was 
furled. At four o'clock, next (Sunday) morning, they took in the jib. 
The water now measured thirty-four faihonis in depth, and they sup- 
posed they were on the southwest part of George's, Two hours later 
they double-reefed the foresail, which soon after parted the leach -rope 
and lore to the lufl". The sail was cross- barred, a preventer leach- 
rope put on as quickly as possible, and the whole was then close- 
reefed. The gale increased every moment, and at ten o'clock a 
heavy sea tore away the boat and davits. By sounding they discov- 
ered that they were fast drifting across the south channel, and they 
knew that the shoab were under their lee. Determined to carry sail as 
long as it would stand, for the purpose of clearing them, if it could be 
done, to the close-reefed foresail they set a balance- reefed mainsail 
and reefed jib. The foresail again gave out, was repaired and again 
set, but as soon as it was up the wind was so terrific that it was blown 
to ribbons. The mainsail soon shared the same fate, and the jib 
only was left. It was now about eight o'clock Sunday evening, and 
they could do nothing more to save themselves. They sounded and 
found that the water measured fifteen fathoms. They then knew 
that they were rapidly drifting into shoal water. At the next throw 
of the line it measured only six fathoms. The sea was breaking over 
the vessel fore and aft, and the captain advised the crew to go below. 
All but the captain and his brother did so. They remained on deck, 
and after discussing the situation, concluded to swing the craft off 
before the wind, that, if by any possibility they were Hearing land, 
they might have a better chance of escape. The helm was put up 
and just as she began to fall off, a tremendous sea, or a breaker com- 
pletely buried the vessel, leaving her on her broadside, or beam ends. 
Zacb, the captain's brother, was washed overboard, but he caught 



884 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW 

hold of the main sheet and hauled himself on board. The foremast 
was broken about fifteen feet above deck, the strain on the spring- 
stay hauled the mainmast out of the step, and tore iip the deck, 
sweeping away the galley, bulwarks and everything else, and shifted 
the ballast into the wing. A sharp hatchet had always been kept un- 
der the captain's berth, to be used in case of an emergency. This 
he soon found, and to it fastened a lanyard, which was tied to a rope 
that had already been fastened to Zach's waist, the other end being se- 
cured on the vessel. Zach went to the leeward, and when the vessel 
rolled out of water, he watched his chance, and cut away the rigging. 
The captiin did the same forward, cutting away the jib-atay and other 
lopes, and by that means relieved the vessel of the spars, sails, rig- 
ging, sheet anchor and chains. The crew got into ihe hold through 
the lazeret, and threw the ballast to the windward, so that she partial- 
ly righted. They were now on a helpless wreck. After the great 
breaker had gone over, the motion of tiie sea became more regular. 
With a few of the waist-boards Jeft, and spare canvas, they repaired 
the deck, and with the remaining anchor out for a drag, made a 
good drift considering the circumstances, though mostly under water. 
It was now nearly daylight, and the gale had abated. As soon as it 
was fairly day they knew by the appearance of the water that they 
were off soundings. On the morning of Tuesday, the fifth, the wind 
was blowing moderately. They saw a schooner standing by under 
reefed sails, the wind being northwest. Captain Knowks made every 
effort he could to attract the attention of the people on board if there 
were any, but on account of the masts being gone, and the hull so 
low, they were not noticed, and the vessel, which they had hoped 
would be the means of their rescue passed out of sight. They then 
put a stay on the stump of the foremast, set the staysail for a foresail 
and the gaff-topsad for a jib, to enable them to steer. By ten o'clock 
in the forenoon the weather had become pleasant and the gale was 
over. They opened the hatches, and found some potatoes floating on 
the water in the hold. Fortunately, when the galley was washed away 
the tea-kettle was in the cabin, so that it was saved. They builta fire 
on the ballast, boiled the potatoes in the tea-kettle, and had a lunch, 
This was the first food they had eaten since Sunday morning, and now 
it was Tuesday noon. Just before sunset a sail was discovered ap- 
proaching them from the east. They hoisted their flag on a long pole 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 285 

as a signal and used every effort they cotild to get in her track. They 
were soon convinced that they had been seen, and that she was being 
steered toward them. They could see many men in the rigging and 
on the yards, apparently on the watch. When within hailing dis- 
tance the captain inquired what assistance he could give, and the 
shipwrecked mariners explained their situation. Il was determined 
to abandon the wreck, and a quarter boat was sent from the rescuing 
vessel. It was soon alongside, and the crew of ten men, with most 
of their luggage, were taken away in the first boat-load. The boat 
returned for the rest of the personal effects of the crew and for the 
captain, who had remained behind. After ihey had left the wreck 
he returned and with his hatchet cut a hole through the bottom 
of the vessel, letting the water into the hold, which soon tilled. He 
stepped back into the boat, which was pulled away as the Gurnet 
settled down to the bottom of the ocean. It had been the home of 
Captain Knowles for several years, and be had formed such an at- 
tachment for the schooner that even the distressing circumstances did 
not obliterate all regret for its destruction. He was happily sur- 
prised when he learned that the vessel wliich had rescued them was 
the p.icket-ship Rouiiis, plying between New York and Liverpool, the 
first merchant ship of her time, carrying on this voyage four hundred 
cabin and steerage passengers ; and that she was commanded by Capt. 
John Collins, a Truro boy, formerly Captain Knowles' nearest neigh- 
bor as well as a relative by marriage. Another of the officers was 
Captain Collins' nephew, Joshua C. Paine, also a Truro young man. 
The rescued mariners were shown every attention while they remained 
on the ship. They were again surprised when they learned that they 
were rescued twohundred miles off the highlands of Neversink, N. J, 
They landed at New York on the seventh of the month. There they 
received the kindest and most generous treatment, and in due time 
.t1! arrived at Truro in safely. 

Another of the Truro vessels fishing on George's banks on the day 
before the storm was the General Harrison, Capt. Reuben Snow, 
master. It left the fishing grounds for home with the rest of the 
Truro fleet, and at about seven o'clock Saturday evening, was sever- 
al miles off Cape Cod. The vessel was lying there very comfortably 
with others of the Tmro boats, having on its deck some twenty or 
thirty barrels of salted mackerel. It never reached its port, however. 



186 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

but sunk with the other vessels on the shoals of Nantucket, with all 
on board, the crew being a large one. 

The Pomona, a small fishing vessel, conamanded by Capt. Solomon 
H. Dyer of Truro, was also returning from the George's, where the 
crew had been fishing. They were some distance behind the rest of 
the Truro vessels, and were seen about half-past ten o'clock to the 
northwest of the fleet offCape Cod, lying under double-reefed foresail. 
They stood in toward the shore, evidently intending to come wilhin 
the Cape. A man was seen to go out on the bowsprit and loose a 
part of the jib, which they hoisted. The vessel was last seen in the 
storm at about half-past twelve, when a squall came suddenly over 
the raging ocean, and it is believed tliat it was then disabled. The 
men on board were all lost. The crew consisted of the captain and 
seven young men, all belonging to Truro. After the storm, the vessel 
was found bottom up in Nauset harbor, and in the cabin the bodies ofi 
three of the hoys were discovered and brought home for burial. Her 
boat and some other articles were picked up between three and four 
o'clock, only about two hours after the squall struck her. 

Another of the Truro vessels that was with the fleet was the Prince 
Albert, Captain Noah Smith, master. The boat went down on the 
shoals of Nantucket, and the crew of eight, all of whom belonged in 
Truro, perished. 

The Water Witch, Captain Matthias Rich, master, was also out in 
the storm. On the morning of Saturday, the crew were fishing with 
the fleet, and had caught about half a dozen barrels full of large, fat 
mackerel. The rest of the fleet sailed for home, and they soon followed 
but did not overtake them until after sunset. They were then ninety 
miles southeast by east from Provincelown, and lay to under foresail 
toward the east, carrying the jib all night. All the other vessels lay 
to the northwest under foresail only, and at four o'clock next morning 
(Sunday) bad weather had set in, and there was a smart northeast 
wind. They wore ship and started for the cape, which was calculated 
to be one hundred and twenty miles distant northwest by west. At 
five o'clock, all their sail was put on. Sometimes, on account of 
heavy seas, they were obliged to swing off the course. The sun rose 
clear, but it immediately went behind black clouds, showing two sun- 
dogs, the heavens having a wild appearance. Between seven and eiglit 
o'clock they passed the fleet, which was still lying to the northwest 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 287 

under foresail, two or three vessels having a bob- jib. About eleven, 
the crew urged the captain to tack ship, but he said it was too 
late, and that they must make a harbor or run ashore, as he saw no 
chance to fall to the leeward, and that he had concluded if the 
highlands of Cape Cod could not be weathered, to run on shore where 
it was bold, taking the chance of being saved. An hour and a 
half later, they judged they were nearly up to the land, and were 
about to make some observations, when a squall struck them, driving 
the sea completely over the vessel. The jib and mainsail were hauled 
down, and they lay under double-reefed foresail. The wind was now 
farther north. At one o'clock the force of the squall had passed, and 
the heavens had slightly cleared to leeward. The captain was then 
standing in the gangway, and all the crew were below, as they could 
not remain on deck. The captain saw land under the lee and well 
along to windward. The first thought of running on shore, to their 
almost certain destruction, was a terrible shock to him ; but he quickly 
rallied, sprang on deck and called his men. The jib was set and the 
vessel fell off so far that the land was now to the windward of the bow- 
sprit. The captain knew that he had a good sea-boat, having tried her 
in many a difficult place, and that Iheir race was now for life or death. 
The mainsail had been balance-reefed before lying to and it was 
now hoisted. The sail was small, but before it was half way up, the 
vessel lay so much on its broadside that the halyards were lost, and 
the sail came down by the run, blowing to pieces. The main boom 
and gaff went over the lee rail, and they tried to cut them away, but 
fearing the main top-in-liff would carry away the mainmast, got on a 
tackle, and pulled the boom and part of the mainsail out of the water. 
The vessel righted and came up to the wind, making good headway 
and gaining to the windward under the only sail it would bear — dou- 
ble-reefed foresail and reefed jib, the sea making a break fore and aft. 
They had now a slight hope that they would weather the highlands. 
They kept as close to the wind as possible, and at half-past three 
they had weathered the highlands, with no room to spare between 
them. When off Peaked hill bars, the jib was blown away, and they 
just cleared the breakers. But they had weathered 1 the lee shore 
was astern, and Race point was under their lee. They rounded the 
point, and anchored in Herring cove at half- past six, as darkness 
came on. The captain now left the helm, to which he had been 



288 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

lashed for twelve consecutive hours. When morning dawned, theirs 
was the only vessel in the cove. 

The loss in this storm of the fifty- seven young men of Truro was the 
most serious calamity that ever visited the town. There was scarcely 
a person but to whom some of them were related ; thus making it in the 
most literal sense a public bereavement. In commemoration of the 
event, there was erected in the town, a plain marble shaft, rising from 
a brownstone base, which is inscribed on the front face as follows : — 

Sacred 

To the memory of 

Fifty-seven Citizens of Truro, 

who were lost in seven 

vessels, which 

foundered at sea in 

the memorable gale 

of October 3, 1841. 

Then shall the dust return to the earth 
as it was ; and the spirit shall return to 
God who gave it. 

Man goeth to his long home, and the 
mourners go about the streets. 

On the back of the monument is given a list of the names of the 
lost mariners, with their respective ages, arranged in columns. 




The Slorm of 1842. 

ON Wednesday afternoon, November 30, 1842, a snow slorm be- 
gan, which turned lo rain about nine o'clock in the evening. 
The wind had blown moderately through tlie day, but when 
night came on it increased until it blew with great violence from the 
east- south east, shifting to the east- north east at two o'clock in the 
morning, when it quickly subsided. In some parts, a great deal of 
snow fell, and travel on the railroads was greatly obstructed, fifteen 
inches of snow being on the ground the next day at Dover, N. H. 
The storm began early in the morning as far south as Washington 
and Baltimore, and much snow fell there. The temperature was also 
low, being at Belfast, Maine, on the day before only six degrees 
above zero, the coldest November day that had been known there 
for several years. 

At Boston, the storm was much more severe than at any other port 
in that vicinity. Many vessels were anchored in the harbor when 
the storm came on, and they were driven from their moorings, being 
either jammed against each other or the wharves. They were badly 
chafed and broken, and several of them were sunk. In the very heart 
of the city the sound of falhng masts and of vessels crashing together 
was heard from time to time above the noise of the storm. It was 
deemed dangerous to go to the end of the wharves lest some large craft 
might dash against them, carrying them away. In the night, several' 
sailors were drowned. 

Among the many wrecks caused by the slorm in the few short houns 
it continued were two or three that made it memorable. One of them 
was that of the bark Isadgre, a new and beautiful vessel of four hun- 
dred tons burden, commanded and owned by Capt. Leander Foss. 
This was its first trip, and it sailed on the morning of the storm from 
Kennebunk, Maine, for New Orleans. In the blinding snow and the 




I 
I 



790 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

tempest of that night the craft was driven on a point of rocks near 
Cape Neddock, Maine, called Bald head, and wrecked. The eniire 
crew of fifteen belonged in Kennebunkport, and all perished. Five 
were fathers of families, and left in all twenty children. Two were 
young men, the only sons of widows. 

The schooner Napoleon, commanded by Capt, James York, sailed 
from Calais, Maine, for New York, with a cargo of lumber, on the 
twenty-eighth of the month. The gale struck the vessel out in 
the ocean on the night of the storm and carried away both masts. 
She capsized and righted, but was filled with waier. The cook, a 
Scotch lad, was probably lost when the vessel went over, as he was not 
seen again. The others of the crew remained on deck, in the cold 
and darkness and tempest, and one after another they lay down- and 
died. The craft was driven about by the mighty wind, but where 
no one knew or cared. The next day and another night passed away. 
Death was what they desired, and all but one of them found it. When 
the wreck had reached a point about forty miles south of Monhegan, 
it fell in with the schooner Eiho of Thomaston, Maine. Captain 
York had survived untii within "an hour or two of their meeting with 
the Echo, and when the captain of thai vessel came on board the 
wreck only the mate was found alive, he being badly frozen. The 
other six had all died, and their bodies had been washed away ex- 
cept that of one man, which was jammed in among the lumber in 
such a manner that it could not be extricated without great danger. 

The saddest wreck caused by the storm was that of the schooner 
Jama Clark, of sixty tons burden, belonging in St. John, N. B., com- 
manded and owned by Captain Beck. It was on a trip from St, John 
to Boston, and there were twenty persons on board. They left Port- 
land on the morning of the storm, and late that afternoon were driven 
ashore at Rye beach, the vessel becoming a total wreck. At six 
o'clock in the evening, which was soon after the vessel struck, the 
cabin was stove in, and the people were compelled to remain on 
deck. The heavy sea dashed over them, and they were washed from 
one side of the vessel to the other, their clothing being torn off from 
ihem. They suffered intensely from the exposure to cold and water, 
and some died, the first being Mrs. Margaret Stewart's six months' old 
baby boy, named Willie, who expired in her arms. She had wrapped 
4iim so closely for protection from exposure that his death was prob- 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 29 1 

ably hastened thereby. The mother became insensible and when 
rescued was founc^ among some lumber almost covered with water. 
Her arms were stiffened in the position in which she had held her 
child, and remained so for some time after arriving at the land. 
She was saved, however, to mourn the loss of her boy. Mrs. Mary 
Hebersen, a widow of about fifty, accompanied by her daughter Han- 
nah, who was twelve years old, was on her way to an aunt's in 
Holden, Mass. For hours they kept together in their hopeless con- 
dition as well as the waves would permit. At length the daughter, 
becoming benumbed with cold, lay down upon the deck at her 
mother's feet and died. While she lay there, her life fast ebbing 
away, her mother watched over her, and raising her eyefe to heaven 
commended her daughter's spirit to her Maker. This excellent 
mother was no sooner apprehensive of the death of her daughter than 
she forgot the tempest and laid herself down by the side of her child. 
In fifteen niinutes her spirit also had fled. 

As soon as it was possible, one of the sailors took a long rope, fast- 
ened one end of«t on the deck, and jumped into the raging surf with 
the other end tied to him. He fought his way to the shore, and by 
means of the rope the captain and crew and ten of the passengers, 
five women, two men, a girl and a boy, and a child sixteen months old, 
were saved. Only one person, Dennis Mahaney, perished while at- 
tempting to reach the shore on the rope. Mrs. Hebersen and Mr. 
Mahaney were the only adults lost, the rest being children. Five bodies 
were recovered. 

Those most instrumental in saving these people were a Mr. Yea- 
ton and his son, who unweariedly and at imminent peril of their lives 
assisted in getting them on shore. But for their efforts many more 
would have perished. Mr. Yeaton's family generously placed every- 
thing they had at the disposal of the sufferers. They gave them the 
use of the whole house and freely distributed their extra clothing 
among them, both mariners and passengers having lost theirs, except 
what they wore when rescued, some of them being nearly naked. 



i 



CHAPTER LXVII. 

TlieFreshelof J846. 

f the snow and ice in the spring almost always pro- 
duces a freshet in some portion of New England. In March, 
inch damage was done by the rise of the water in sev- 
1 New Hampshire and Maine. 

At the great falls in Somersworth, in New Hampshire, on the Salmon 
Falls river, the dam was washed away on the morning of the twenty- 
sixth of the month, and on the same day the railroad bridge over the 
river at Saco, Maine, was somewhat injured, the trains to andfrom Port- 
land being hindered several hours. On the Androscoggin river the 
greatest amount of damage was done at the flourishing little village of 
Livennore Falls, which was swept almost entirely away. Seventeen 
stores and houses with all that was in them were floated down the 
river. The rise of the water was so sudden that the people had no 
time to save any of their property. On the Kennebec river, the 
freshet was the most destructive ever known. In Hallowell, the prin- 
cipal street in the lower and central parts of the town was flooded, 
and the river was filled with floating ice and lumber. At Gardiner, 
the water rose with great rapidity until it broke up the ice which was 
two feet thick, and then covered the lower streets of the town, filling 
cellars, and carrying away Jumber and several store-houses, bams and 
other buildings. 

On the Penobscot river there was great destruction of property. At 
several places the ice had been broken up and great jams had been 
formed, which caused the water to flow over its banks for a long dis- 
tance back, doing great injury. As soon as the water was of sufficient 
height and weight it forced the ice-dam down the stream until it was 
again blocked, carrying away property as it proceeded on its way. 
Above Orono the mills were undisturbed; but below that town one 
of the jams removed from the place called the Basin, at some dis- 
(29 ^) 



I 



HISTORIC STORMS OF MEW ENGLAND. 293 

tance from the channel, a block of seventeen mills, which were among 
the most valuable ones on the river. They were owned principally 
by a New York company, but for several seasons had been leased to 
lumber merchants in Bangor. In the northern part of Bangor, imme- 
diately below the forty mills of the "Corporation," or "City mills," 
another great jam of ice formed, greatly endangering the twenty-two 
saw-mills and a large number of clapboard-, shingle- and lath-mills be- 
low owned by John Fiske of Bangor. A part of the ice soon after 
gave way, letting down a considerable amount of the water, which 
relieved the mills. 

The Franklin or upper bridge over the Kenduskeag river was car- 
ried down the stream, and the middle of Smith's bridge subsequently 
followed it, together with a portion of the lower or Kenduskeag 
bridge. A large wooden block on the east end of the latter bridge 
was taken off its foundation, and the water filled nearly the whole 
of the first story of the market house on the bridge. 

The jam gave way about midnight, and passed partly by the city- 
This iet the water down so much that it inundated the lower part of 
the town, including the whole of Market square, and Broad, Wall, and 
Exchange streets and a large portion of Maine street to the depth of 
several feet. The deluge came so suddenly that the people in the 
square at the time were obliged to wade through water a yard deep 
to reach dry ground. It rose five feet in five minutes, and continued 
to rise. A temporary ferry was soon established between a point in 
Hammond street near the City Hall steps and a point on State street 
nearly up to Exchange street. Smith's block, including the post-of- 
fice, was submerged almost to the tops of the doors, and it was the 
same with all the stores on Market square. The water was several 
feet deep in front of the old Hatch tavern and nearly up to the win- 
dows in the Exchange. The merchants were busily engaged in remov- 
ing their goods from lower to higher shelves and floors, the water being 
all that time from two to four feet above the lower floors. Much prop- 
erty was thus saved. The lumber dealers suffered most of the loss, 
however, the wharves and piling places being all covered with val- 
uable lumber to the amount of millions of feet which was worth sev- 
eral hundred thousand dollars. The greater part of it was carried 
away and lost, and the ice was full of boards in every direction.. Above 
the office of the Bangor Whig, in the jam of ice were the ruins of 



294 HISTORIC STORMS C 

forty-four saw-mills, beside shingle- and lath-milis. The ice started, and ' 
large piles of lumber were 
on the other side of the r: 



istantly whirled off the whar 



n Brewer 
with a mill afloat came 
down the stream and swept away a bridge just in the rear of the of- 
fice. The prititers removed the presses into the street and carried 
the type, etc., to the office of the Democrat, where they printed the 
next edition of their paper. The scene was appalling, store-housea 
began to float down and fill the stream, enormous piles of lumber 
being among them. Three persons were drowned, the water hav- 
ing come down so suddenly Saturday night that they had not time to 
escape. 

On Sunday afternoon a great deal of lumber and other property was 
secured. Crowds of people anxiously watched the movements, of the 
water, ice and buildings, and of the men wlio were endeavoring to save 
jDroperty. So much interest was manifested in the flood that no reg- 
ular services were held in any of the churches during the day. 

At last, a little before seven o'clock that evening, the jam began 
to make a decided movement. It all passed down the stream with 
a steady, slow, majestic motion, roaring terrifically as the huge mass 
was borne along by the mighty strength of the flood. The noble 
Penobscot bridge was carried away before it. The next morning the 
city presented a sad and gloomy spectacle. Signs of destruction were 
everywhere. Streets were obstructed with lumber and debris. Great 
cakes of ice were piled in places to the height of twenty-five feet. 

Some of the vessels that were being built in the town of Brewer ori 
.the opposite side of the river from Bangor were moved from their 
stocks, many of them being injured, and several houses were more or 
less submerged in the water. 



I 



CHAPTER LXVIII. 
The Storm of December^ ^^47, 

THE month of December, 1847, was remarkably dry and warm 
until the middle, when it suddenly changed to wintry weather, 
and a cold northeasterly storm began. This was on the night 
of Thursday, the sixteenth, and it continued till about nine o'clock 
the next evening, when the fierceness of the wind abated, and a snow 
storm set in, which did not cease until two days had elapsed. The 
strong wind caused many disasters along the coast. On Ipswich bar, 
off the town of that name in Massachusetts, the schooner Pliant of 
Eastport, Maine, commanded by Captain Reynolds, loaded with lum- 
ber, struck, and upon discovering their position, the crew abandoned 
the vessel. Various kinds of craft were wrecked at Cohasset, Nan- 
tucket, and other places, but the disaster that caused the greatest gen- 
eral interest in the storm was the wreck of the brig Falconer of 
Belfast, commanded by Capt. Joseph Rolerson, who also belonged in 
that town. She measured three hundred and sixty tons, was twenty 
years old, and at this time was transporting a cargo of three hundred 
and fifty tons of coal from Sydney, C. B., to Boston. She also car- 
ried a large number of passengers, making with the crew fifty-three 
persons on board. 

The trip was successful until the night of the storm, when Squam 
light at Gloucester, Mass., was made, which in the thick weather was 
mistaken for Cohasset light. The captain tacked, and stood to the 
northward, but when he sighted the Ipswich and Newburyport lights 
he discovered his error. Not recognizing them, and knowing that 
no beacons were located at any such distance and direction from 
Cohasset, he did not know where he was, and with wisdom and dis- 
cretion born of experience dropped anchor about three miles from 
shor^. Had he been aware of his location he could have run into 
the harbor in safety. The brig rode through Thursday night, all day 

(295) 



ft 



ag6 HISTORIC STORMS OF SEW ENGLAND. 

Friday and that night, and until about seven o'clock on Saturday morn- 
ing, wlien she tlragged her anchors, being driven on a sandy reef about 
three-fourths of a mile from the sliore, off the southerly end of Patch's 
beach, two miles from the lighthouse. There she became bilged, and 
the sea made a long condnued series of great breaclies over her. The 
leaks increased greatly, and iu the cabin the water became so deep 
that the passengers were compelled to come on deck into the midst 
of the heavy seas that were constantly sweeping over it, carrying away 
everything that was movable. The ouly security lliat was afforded 
them was in lashing themselves to the rigging and other parts of the 
vessel that were still intact and had force sufficient to resist the 
power of the tremendous waves. This they did as well as they could. 
The masts had been carried away by the wind, and ouly the useless 
hull remained far from shore with tons upon tons of icy waters dash- 
ing over it, throwing the spray to a great height. In the cold and 
wet, suffering with hunger, and without the least hope of rescue, 
those fifty-three men, women, and children were confined as in a 
tomb. On that Saturday morning they were all alive, but many of 
them were nearly exhausted and could not long survive the exposure. 
An attempt was made to reach the shore in the boat belonging to 
the brig, which still remained. Seven persons made their way into it, 
and turned hs bow toward the land, but as they neared the beach 
they were buried beneath the mountainous waves, and three of them 
were drowned. The other four fought their way through theaurf and 

The keeper of the lighthouse there had watched the vessel as it lay 
anchored off the shore all Friday night, expecting it would be driven 
in. On Saturday morning, he saw it on the reef, but was unable to 
go to it, as there was no life-boat. If there had been one probably 
all the people would have been saved. 

The only family living on the beach was that of Capt, Humphrey 
Lakeraan, whose house was nearly two miles away from the place of the 
wreck. As soon as they learned that the vessel had struck, news was 
quickly sent to the village five miles away, and many persons came to 
the beach through the driving snow, bringing with them thick clothing 
and invigoratiog and nourishing supplies for the living, together with 
articles for enwrapping the dead. 

Though a large number of people had gathered on the beach in 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 297 

the pitiless storm, they could do nothing to save the many men, wo- 
men and children, whom they could dimly see on the wreck through 
the thickly falling snow. The only boat that was near was small and 
leaky, and it was agreed that it could not possibly resist the power of 
the breakers. However, something ought to be done ; and, feeling the 
imperativeness of the case, a brave young sailor, named William Chap- 
man, who had come down from the village with the other people, 
jumped into the miserable little dory, and pulled out alone through 
the deadly surf to the side of the wreck. But he ^ had hardly reached 
it and scrambled on deck, when the boat in which he had come filled 
with water and sank. He was now without means of getting on shore 
again himself, but with hardly a thought of his own desperate condi- 
tion, he turned his attention to reviving the hopes of the sufferers. 
His very presence even gave assurance of assistance, and encouraged 
them to renevi^ their struggle for life. Learning from young Chap- 
man's successful passage through the water that a boat could live in 
the surf, the men on shore ran to the lighthouse, and dragged some 
boats that were there over the soft sand for two miles to the point 
nearest the wreck. They were launched and quickly manned by the 
Ipswich men, who gladly and courageously volunteered to assist in the 
performance of the hazardous duty. Back and forth successfully 
pushed the boats through the dangerous waters amid the howling and 
the gloom of the storm, now mounting the great crested waves, and 
then plunging into valleys, where it seemed as if the almost perpen- 
dicular walls of foaming water before and behind them would engulf 
the craft. By the humanity of these men, the thirty- six survivors on 
the wreck safely reached the shore. As they landed the people put 
clothing upon those who had been so long exposed to the cold and 
wet, and when they had used all they had brought with them from 
town they stripped themselves of their outer garments, giving them to 
the needy. The survivors were all conveyed to Captain Lakeman's 
house as speedily as possible, and everything that he and hi^ family 
had was most generously placed at their disposal, all that they could 
do being done for their comfort. Every exertion was made to revive 
those that were brought in the boats or had washed on shore, who 
were in an insensible condition. 

Captain Rolerson himself survived only half an hour after reaching 
land, and his wife and son Charles were also among those that per- 



^^ 



YORK 






I 



398 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. ^^^^1 

ished. Of ihe cabin passengers, three men and as many women were 
lost, and of the steerage passengers seven men and a boy. In all, 
seventeen of the fifty-three persons perished, most of thera by expos- 
ure rather than by drowning, Th-e boy was washed overboard from the 
brig, and his body was never recovered. Thirteen bodies came ashore 
and were brought to the house on the day of the rescne of the surviv- 
ors, and the otiier three were found the next day, after the abatement 
of the storm. Many of the passengers were poor emigrants coming 
to the States from the British dominions. 

The rescued people were soon taken from Captain Lalseman's house 
to the village where tliey were nursed back to health and given every 
comfort that was in the power of the citizens. 

The bodies of tlie lost mariners that were found and recovered were 
also taken to the village and placed in the town hall, where on Monday 
afternoon (December 20) their fimeral took place under the auspices 
of the town authorities. The services, which were rendered by the 
several clergymen of the town, were very impressive. A long proces- 
sion then formed, and followed the remains in the sad march to the 
High street butying-ground, where they were interred, with the ex- 
ception of the captain and his family. As the captain was an Odd 
Fellow the Ipswicli lodge took possession of the bodies of himself and 
his wife and son, and deposited them in a tomb, preparatory to remov- 
ing them 10 the place of their late residence, where five childiea 
mourned their loss. 

One of the men who were saved had a bag of money, which he threw 
into the boat, when he was taken ashore in the storm, but when near 
the shore the boat was carried by a wave upon the sand and broken 
in two, the money being lost. In 1887, some gunners picked up sev- 
eral Mexican dollars on the beach where the vessel was wrecked, 
which were supposed to have been some of those lost at the time of 
the shipwreck. The incident created considerable excitement, and in 
the afternoon of the same day, about thirty young men of Ipswich, 
with rakes, hoes, and shovels, went to the beach and diligently searched 
for the missing treasure, but in vain, • 



CHAPTER LXIX. 

« 

The Storm of October^ 1849. 

T¥T about six o'clock on the afternoon of Saturday, October 7, 
r1 1849, rain began to fall along the New England coast, the wirtd 
/ blowing freshly from the east. At twelve o'clock, a violent gale 
was blowing from the northeast, and the rain fell in torrents. It con- 
tinued all day Sunday, and did great damage along the shore, a consid- 
erable number of vessels being driven upon the land or bilged. Tel- 
egraph wires were prostrated, and communication was interrupted. 
In Chelsea, Mass., one of the walls of the brick church, belonging to 
the Universalist society, which was being built on Chestnut street, was 
blown down with a terrific crash. 

This gale is most noted for the wreck of the brig St, John on Mi- 
not's ledgd, off Cohasset, Mass. The vessel was commanded by Cap- 
tain Oliver, and had sailed from Galway, Ireland, with emigrants for 
Boston, September 5. At about five o'clock on the afternoon of Sat- 
urday, October 6, they passed Cape Cod with a light southeast wind. 
The weather being very thick, they hove to, heading northeast. At 
four o'clock the next morning they wore ship and stood south. 
At half-past six, they made Minot's ledge, and, seeing the British brig 
Kathleen there, they ran inside the ledge and anchored. But the 
violence of the wind and the heavy sea caused the vessel to drag the 
anchors even there. Fearful that they would all be driven on the 
rocks, and dashed to pieces, they cut away their masts. But the gale 
continued to increase, the anchors again failed to hold, and the ves- 
sel was cast upon the ledges. I'he terrible scene was witnessed from 
the Glade house, but the people found it impossible to do anything. 
The sea ran mountain high, and as soon as the brig struck, the waves 
swept over her, washing the unfortunate men, women, and children 
into the raging ocean. The deck was crowded with the emigrants 
and a dozen at a time they were carried into the surges. 

Shortly after the brig struck, the ringbolt that supported the stern of 

(299) 



300 HISTORIC STORMS OF N 

the jolly-boat in its accustomed place alongside, broke, lettiiig it 
fall into the water. The captain, second mate, and two boys had but 
just jumped into it to clear it from the vessel, when about twenty-five 
passengers also followed them, and it was immediately swamped by 
their we ij;ht. All of the twenty-nine perished, except one boy and the 
captain, the former swimming back to the wreck, and the latter being 
saved, by catching hold of a rope that was suspended over the quar- 
ter, being pvilled on board by the first mate. 

The long-boat was then detached, but hardly had this been done 
when a heavy sea swept over the vessel and carried it away. A 
number of passengers jmnped into the angry waters to swim to it, 
and they all perished. Afterward, the captain, first mate, eight of the 
crew and two passengers sw3m_to it in safety, and in it reached the 
shore, landing at the Glades. 

Many incidents, heart-rending and pathetic, occurred on the brig 
during the half hour that il lay and thumped upon the rocks. Some 
of them have been brought down to us. One was that of three chil- 
dren, who were by their mother's side when a great wave came over 
the vessel, and swept the children into eternity. Another is that of 
Patrick Swaney and his eleven children, who were all washed from 
the wreck at the same time. Being a good swimmer, he endeavored 
to save his youngest child, whom he was holding in his arms when 
he went over into the boiling surge, and struck out for the long-boat in 
which Captain Oliver and others were striving to reach the shore. But 
he failed to accomplish his purpose, and the strong man and weak 
children alike went down. 

A smart, fine-looking Irish lad, about fourteen years old, had secreted 
himself on board the vessel just before it sailed from Galway, and had 
not been discovered until they were four days out. VVhen the jolly-boat 
was launched he was one of those that jumped into it, and when it 
swamped, he swam back to (he wreck, getting safely on board. A few 
minutes later, wlien the long-boat was washed Irom the brig, and the 
captain and others had got on board of her he again leaped into the 
waves, swam to the boat, and was helped in, landing in safety. He 
had two sisters on board, who were both drowned. 

The other passengers that were saved fioated ashore on pieces of 
the deck ; but some of those that were rescued from the water alive 
soon after died from the effects of the bruises that they then received. 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 30I 

The news of the wreck spread, and in the storm during that Sunday 
afternoon the shore was lined with people. They were active in as- 
sisting the saved, and recovering the dead bodies as they came near 
the shore. One man came very near losing his life in taking remains 
out of the surf, many of which were horribly mangled and disfigured. 
They were laid in a row as they were recovered, presenting a most 
melancholy sight. Those that attracted the most attention perhaps 
were the bodies of a woman and her lifeless child of about two years 
of age securely clasped in her arms. Others were thrown upon rocks, 
but before they could be secured the sea would carry them back again. 
Late in the afternoon they began to come ashore in large numbers, 
two being taken from pieces of the wreck. 

The whole number of people on board was about one hundred and 
sixty- four, of whom fourteen, mostly women and children, were cabin 
passengers. Forty-five of the passengers were women, and there were 
fifteen or eighteen children. Of all this great number, only twenty- 
one persons were saved, and of the one hundred and forty-three that 
were lost, the bodies of only twenty-seven were recovered, of which 
there were three of men, twenty-one of women, and three of children. 



CHAPTER LXX. 

The "-Lighthouse" Storm, iSsi. 

fLONG the New England coast, on Monday, April 

one of tlie severest storms of rain, hail and snow ever known 
here. It commencedat Washington, D.C.,on Sunday, reached 
New York Monday morning, and during ihe day extended over New 
England. The wind hart set in sirongly from the northeast some 
days previous, and on the day the storm began a thick mist slowly gath- 
ered. A few hours later it turned to rain, and the wind increased un- 
til it blew violently. The moon was at its full, and the water having 
been blown in upon the shores for several days the tide rose to a 
greater height in many places than was remembered by the people 
then living. It swept the wharves and lower streets like a fiood, and 
at Dorchester, Mass., rose nearly seven feet higher than the average 
tide. Beginning on Monday, it continued about the same on Tues- 
day, and reached its height Wednesday morning. On Thursday, the 
wind was still strong, and while it continued to rain on the immediate 
sea-board snow began to fall a few miles inland. Friday was cloudy 
and chilly, but on Saturday there was some sunshine. On that night, 
however, the storm of rain was renewed, the wind blowing from the 
northeast, and possessing new vigor, but throughout Sunday, snow fell 
thick and fast, covering the earth both inland and on the sea-shore to 
a great depth. It was succeeded on the next day by rain. .The wind 
and flood combined did much damage on both land and sea. Wharves 
were greatly injured all along the New Hampshire and Massachusetts 
coast, a large amount of property was swept into the sea, and many 
vessels were wrecked, several lives being lost. 

The wind also caused considerable damage inland, fences and trees 
being prostrated, roofs torn off, and chimneys and buildings blown 
down. In Lawrence, Mass., a barn was demolished, there being in 
it five horses, one of which was so much injured that it had to be 



I 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 3O3 

killed. A man who was in the hayloft at the time was also severely 
hurt. As a Brighton butcher was passing over the Cambridge bridge, 
the wind carried himself, his team, and load of calves into the river, 
and they were carried down to the mill-dam, the calves being drowned 
but the driver and horse saved. The Lowell bleachery dry-house, 
three hundred feet long and three stories in height, was blown down, 
and three hundred pieces of cloth were buried beneath the ruins. 
The old railroad depot at Wilmington junction and two barns in 
Tewksbury were demolished, and in Danvers a house and many 
chimneys were blown down. The steeples of churches suffered in 
many places. That of the then new Baptist church in Charlestown, 
was blown down on Wednesday morning, striking the horse and milk 
cart of a Mr. Locke of Lexington. The horse was killed, and Mr. Locke 
died from injuries received soon after being taken from the ruins. The 
steeple also smashed part of a house, but did not harm its inmates. 
The steeple of the Catholic church at Pawtucket village in Rhode 
Island, which was one of the tallest in New England, was also blown 
down ; and the then new Episcopal church at the corner of Decatur 
and Paris streets in Boston was moved from its foundations on Tues- 
day night, and on the following day was blown completely down. 

On all parts of the coast where tlie northeast wind could exert its 
force the tide rose over the wharves from one to four feet. At Prov- 
incetown, on Cape Cod, many wharves and salt mills were swept away ; 
and in several places people left their houses, which were flooded, 
water being six inches deep on the lower floors in some of them. 

At Boston, the water was three or four feet deep on Central and 
Long wharves, and the wooden stores on the latter wharf were com- 
pletely inundated, as were most of the stores at the north end of the 
city. Many houses were abandoned on account of the flood. Cel- 
lars and .tenements were filled with water, and a girl was removed 
from a cellar in Sea street, in which the water was up to her neck. 
The lower parts of Washington street were covered to the depth of 
two feet, and the basement rooms on Blackstone and Franklin squares 
were flooded. The water also crossed the Neck near Northampton 
street and the city dike above the old South Boston bridge was washed 
away. The floor of the Eastern railroad station was under water, and 
around the Boston and Maine railroad depot the streets were covered 
to a considerable depth. The Charlestown and Chelsea bridges were 



304 



- NEW EMGLAND. 



SO submerged that ihey were impassable. Rafts were constnicted out 
of planks, boxes, etc., and navigated about tlie streets by men and 
boys, [lie latter enjoying the inundation. Thousands of people from 
the inland towns visited the scene, which was indeed worth witnessing. 

Deer island in Boston harbor suffered extensively by the great tide 
which made a complete breach over the island, covering nearly the 
whole of it. The sea-wall that had been built there a few years before 
by the government was washed away ; and three buildings were car- 
ried out to sea, one of them being the school-house. The boys had 
a narrow escape, Tuesday night the teacher, finding his own house 
surrounded by water, immediately went to the boys' house, wad- 
ing through water a yard' deep to get there, and got up the boys, who 
dressed and otherwise prepared for any emergency. Around the 
building the water had risen to five feet in height, and about twelve 
o'clock the roof parted, the house being tossed about by the waves. 
At daylight, their situation was made known, and ox-teams came to 
their rescue. With great difficulty they were taken to a new building 
which stood on higher ground. At ten o'clock in the forenoon the 
two houses first named, with their contents, including all the bedding 
belonging to the boys' department, were carried away. The other 
houses on the island were left standing, but damaged, and a large 
wooden building at the end of the Point was blown down. Upon 
another small island called Pleasant beach, Isaiah Baker had a three- 
story public house. It was swept off its foundations, and the sea 
dashed over it, breaking it in pieces. Mr. Baker's family and several 
boarders narrowly escaped. Several vessels also went ashore there, 
and a number of lives were lost. 

At Salem, Derby wharf was greatly injured, and one of the stores 
upon it nearly ruined. Causeways and streets near the harbor, and 
the Hoors of the lead mills were flooded, and North bridge was raised a 
little, but not much injured. The railroad track at Collins' cove and 
the railroad bridge between Forrester street and Northey's point were 
carried away, and the sea rushed into the tunnel. Great quantities 
of wood and lumber were floated off the wharves, and several tan- 
yards were overflowed, being much damaged. Many cellars were filled 
with water, and several families were obliged to vacate their tene- 
ments. 

At Beverly, Water street was flooded, and the sea washed over 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 305 

Tuck's point. At Gloucester, a store belonging to Michael Duley was 
carried away, the tide being said to have been the highest there for 
fifty years. 

On the Merrimac river, the freshet was very extraordinary, the 
stream being higher than ever before known, with perhaps the excep- 
tion of the tide of 1 753. It was twenty-two inches higher than it was 
in December, 1839. Warehouses and cellars on the lower side of 
Water street in Newburyport were flooded, and much merchandise 
was damaged by the water. Large quantities of timber, lumber and 
wood were carried away and lost. Many of the wharves were badly 
damaged, the lower long wharf to the extent of twelve hundred dol- 
lars. The engine and boiler rooms of the Essex mill, situated on the 
bank of the river, were almost filled with the water, and the waste 
house was thrown over and forced from its foundations. Spray was 
thrown to the second-story windows of the houses on the upper side 
of the street as far as Hale's wharf. Below South street the river 
broke in waves over the whole length of the turnpike road to Plum 
island, damaging it to the extent of four thousand dollars. A num- 
ber of workshops and outbuildings were floated off* by the water, and 
brought back again in pieces on the refluent waves. The next day 
after the storm, the roads were found to be badly torn up, and strewn 
with wood, timber and fragments of buildings. Many families on the 
lower side of the street, fearing that their houses would be washed 
away, removed their furniture and household goods, from the flooded 
portions pf the city and spent the night with hospitable neighbors. 
In spite of the storm, many people visited the town, and thousands, 
a large part of them being ladies, thronged Water street to witness 
the ravages that the wind and waves had made. 

At Newcastle, N. H., the sea broke through the breaches, and made 
an island of Jaffrey point. People gathered their household goods 
together on the third day of the storm ready tp depart to high land 
while some thought that another deluge must have come to destroy 
the world, and that it would finally avail nothing to seek more elevated 
ground. The effects of the great storm are still visible there. 

Roads were badly washed all along the coast, and in many places 
cars on the railroads could not be run on account of the tracks being 
swept away by the tide, and in other places because the water was so 
high that the fires in the locomotives were extinguished by it. 

20 



306 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

Much damage was done to the Lihipping, the vessels in the harbors 
being badly chafed by beating against each other, and some broke 
I adrift and ran aground. In Newburyport, the injury to tlie wharves 
and shipping combined amounted to twenty thousand dollars. 

During the storm Plum island presented a desolate appearance. 
On Wednesday morning, the turnpike from Newburyport to the beach 
was covered with water and impassable. The sea at one time broke 
completely over the island, in some parts leaving lakes and ponds 
when the storm subsided. The brig Primrose, Captain Bokman, 
master, bound from Pictou, N. S., to Boston, laden with coal, was off 
Salisbury beach on Tuesday, the fifteenth. The captain had not been 
able to take an observation for several days, and supposed that they 
were in Boston bay till Tuesday night, when he discovered that ihey 
were rearing the reefs at the northern end of Plum island. The 
vessel was lying to just outside the breakers on the next morning, and 
it was evident that she could not long witlistand the sea, which was 
forcing her on to the beach. The wind swept through the rigging 
terrifically, and the mainsail was soon torn away. The crew's control 
over the brig was gone. Being driven into the breakers she stnick a 
reef about two hundred yards from the shore anil about half a mile 
below the first relief house toward the Emerson rocks. T. G, Dodge 
and O. Rundleit, two young men belonging in Newburyport, were on 
the beach during the storm, and at about half-past ten o'clock in the 
forenoon they discovered the wreck. The crew could plainly see them 
on the beach, and communicated with them by signs, as the brig grad- 
ually beat on to the sands. The mariners endeavored to throw a line 
on shore, but it failed to come near enough to be secured until after 
the young men had stood in the surf for three hours. In the mean- 
time, they had been joined by two men, a Mr. Lufkin, who lived on 
the island, about two miles below tiie wreck, and his hired man, who 
had learned of the disasterand had come to render assistance. This 
was a little before one o'clock in the afternoon. Afteranother hour's 
toil, the rope was secured by the four men, and the captain and crew 
with a single passenger, nine persons in all, were thus rescued from 
their perilous situation. Great credit is due to the men who perse- 
vered so long in their exposure to wet and cold and their exhausting 
endeavors to save the shipwrecked mariners. The brig lay embedded 
a the sand till the ensuing July, when she was towed off, her cargo 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 307 

having been taken out by the steamer C B. Stevens^ which then plied 
on the Merrimac between Newburyport and Haverhill. 

At Rockport, several vessels were damaged. In Salem harbor, 
there was a large number of vessels, most of which outrode the gale 
in safety, several schooners being driven ashore and others grounded. 
The scene on North river near the sea was wild and fearfully grand. 
At Marbleliead, seven vessels were cast on shore, and several mar- 
iners lost their lives on Marshfield beach. 

This great storm and tide are known in history as the "Lighthouse" 
storm and tide, from the fact that in it the Minot's ledge lighthouse 
was carried away. Minot's ledge is one of the rocks off Cohasset, 
Mass., which before the light was established had sent to destruction 
many a vessel that had been driven upon them by northeastern gales. 
The loss of property and life became so great that it would not do to 
permit darkness to shroud them longer in its dangerous obscurity, and 
the government constructed a lighthouse on Minot's ledge, which 
though only twenty feet across had destroyed more vessels than any 
other rock on the coast. It was a celebrated structure, great interest 
being taken in it by the merchants and humane societies of that time. 

The construction of this lighthouse was novel. It was considered 
that it would be much better able to withstand the terrible ocean cur- 
rents if it were so built that the almost irresistible waves could dash 
through it. Accordingly a plan for erecting it on pillars was cpn- 
ceived and duly executed. Nine holes, each measuring nine inches 
in diameter, and five feet deep were drilled into the rock in a circle. 
In these holes were placed nine wrought-iron pillars which towered 
forty feet above the ledge, and on them rested the lighthouse proper, 
which weighed thirty tons. The first floor was simply a platform, 
which was called the deck, on which the keeper's boat, the only means 
of communication with the land, was kept. The second floor was 
fifteen feet higher than the first, and on that was the store-room, which 
was fifty-five feet above the ledge, and the lowest sheltered part of the 
structure. This room was fifteen feet high. Next above that was the 
living room of the keepers. It was an octagon in form, and measured 
ten feet in diameter, and the same in height. Then came the lamp- 
room, which was seven feet high. The lamp itself was the best that 
could be obtained, having twenty burners, with silver-plated concave 
reflectors two feet in diameter. From the upper floor a cable stretched 



3o8 msroRic storms of new England. 

to a buoy that was moored outside the breakere, and on it was a large 
wooden box called the chair, which was slipped up and down, being 
the only means of communication between the boat and the house. 
Situated a long distance from the shore, the boat was the only means 
by which the keepers could get to the main land. The extreme height 
of the structure was eighty-seven feet. To the ordinary observer the 
edifice seemed fragile, and little able to cope with the tremendous 
waves, but to those who better understood the laws of mechanical 
construction it was firm and strong, abundantly able to bid defiance 
to the winds and waves and to laugh at their assaults. Itstood there 
a solitary and grim sentinel of the sea, with a forehead of flame, 

A few years after its erection the iedge became cracked where the 
holes were drilled, which was probably caused by the vibratory mo- 
tion of the pillars when the violent gales and the vast waves crowded 
against them. In its construction, where the most strength was re- 
quired the braces were of cast iron, which would easily crack when 
severely strained. In the January before this storm, John W. Bennett, 
the keeper of the light, philosophically told visitors that it was very 
doubtful if it stood through the winter. The pillars had become so loos- 
ened in tiie rock that when a heavy sea struck them the house shook 
so violently as to throw a person off his feet. One of Mr. Bennett's 
assistants was tossed from his berth to the floor, and a barrel of water 
that stood in the living room was emptied of two-thirds of its contents. 
When the sea was very rough the entire structure oscillated, and seemed 
to throb and tremble like the movement of an immense steam engine. 
The keeper complained of its insecurity at several different limes, 
but it was allowed to remain in its dangerous condition. 

When this storm came on, Mr. Bennett was absent, having been 
ordered to Boston by Collector Greely to purchase a new boat. He 
returned on Tuesday afternoon, but found the sea so wild and dan- 
gerous that the boat could not be put out to the lighthouse. He had 
two assistants, Joseph Wilson and Antoine Joseph, who had been left 
in charge of the light. Wilson was an English sailor, modest and un- 
assuming, about twenty-three years old and unmarried. He was an 
agreeable companion and always faithful. In March, some one had 
asked him about the danger of staying there, and he bravely replied, 
"Yes, sir, I shall stay as long as Mr. Bennett does, and when we leave 
light it will be dangerous for any others to take it." Antoine 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 3O9 

Joseph was a Portuguese and beolnged in Corvo, one of the western 
islands, being about twenty-five years of age, and having some rela- 
tives in Cohasset. He had a mild disposition and good habits, and 
was faithful to his trust. 

The lighthouse was last seen standing at about half- past three o'clock 
on Wednesday afternoon. Amid the horrors of the storm, the young 
men were compelled to remain in their fatal rooms. There was no 
escaping to the shore through the hell of waters. As soon as dark- 
ness came on, probably at about five o'clock on that stormy evening, 
they lighted the lamp as usual, and its warning rays beamed over the 
raging ocean. But that which saved others was powerless to save it- 
self. The light was last seen burning at ten o^clock that evening by 
several persons, and at about the same time the lighthouse bell rang 
with great violence, alarming the dwellers on the shore for the safety 
of the youthful custodians of the light. The bravery and faithfulness 
of these young men, who were careful to perform their full duty, even 
while they knew the certainty of their fate, and felt the pillars snap- 
ping asunder beneath them, and while the emotions of anguish that 
can neither be described nor imagined, were surging like billows 
through their souls, constitute them heroes of the highest order. The 
entire structure was undoubtedly carried over at once, and the men 
went down to death and a tomb beneath the surges, their bodies never 
being found. 

At four o^clock next morning, Mr. Bennett was on the beach. The 
lighthouse no longer lifted its head above the waves, and no vestige 
of it remained, but instead fragments of the building were strewn along 
the shore, among them being parts of the living room and of the lamp. 
Portions of the bedding, Mr. Bennett^s clothing, and other things that 
had been kept in the lighthouse were also there. One of the life- 
buoys came ashore, appearing to have been lashed to the back of one 
of the men, but the waves had probably washed it off from him. An- 
other one had apparently been used. For two miles along the beach 
were scattered pieces of the woodwork of the structure and of the 
furniture. On Saturday, after the storm had cleared away, and the 
waves had quieted, some six or seven of the iron pillars or supports 
of the lighthouse were seen standing, and they leaned toward the 
west. They came only three or four feet above the surface of the 



3IO HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

ledge, and appeared to have been broken off squarely, as though they 
had been made of cast iron. 

A vessel bearing a temporary light, under the charge of Mr. Ben- 
nett, was immediately anchored off Minot^s ledge to serve as a beacon 
until a. new lighthouse should be constructed. This was done soon 
afterward, it being erected after the pattern of the famous English 
Eddystone, and there it stands to-day, its light shining out brilliantly 
over the dangerous rocks and reefs as soon as night comes on. 



CHAPTER LXXI. 
The Tornado of August 22^ 1831. 

ON the afternoon and evening of Friday, August 22, 185 1, there 
was a heavy thunder shower in eastern Massachusetts, during 
which several houses were struck by lightning, and other dam- 
age was caused by the wind which swept . with a speed of more than 
two miles a minute in a northeasterly direction from Worcester to 
Rockport. For some days previous a southwest wind had prevailed. 
In Quinsigamond village in Worcester, at about five o'clock the 
wind was very furious, tearing up fences, trees, crops, etc., and carry- 
ing off roofs of buildings. It then proceeded to Wayland, where the 
shower was severe, and hardly had it begun than there occurred an 
extraordinary flash of lightning. The people thought that some build- 
ing in the town must have been struck, and a few minutes later they 
saw rising in the southwest a dense black column of what seemed to 
be smoke. It was soon discovered that it was a cloud, which rose 
rapidly until it seemed to be a mile in height. It appeared to rise 
entirely above the earth, and to stand on legs, which touched the 
ground, extending over an area of about forty rods square. At some 
places along its route it became single and resembled an elephant's 
trunk, though it appeared differently elsewhere. Some said it was 
like a tall wide-spread elm tree ; others, an inverted cone ; and still 
others an hour-glass. The upper portion of it seemed to vibrate, and 
to move from side to side like an elephant's trunk or a waterspout at 
sea, and among the projecting points below were fitful gleams of light- 
ning. The whole cloud whirled as it came over the town on its dis- 
astrous trip to the sea. It was the most violent and destructive tornado 
that was ever experienced in that section. At the northern part of 
Maiden, its force was principally lost, and the column divided at a 
point about half-way between the earth and the cloud above, the upper 
part being dissipated, and the lower half settling down into an irreg- 

(311) 



313 HISTORIC STORM5 Or NEW ENGLAND. 

uUr mass, which soon disappeared. The force of the wind, hoi 

was not wholly gone, for it wrought some slight injury at Lynn and 

Rockport, 

The topography of the country, it is believed, has much to do with 
the origin and destructiveness of tornadoes. Prospect hill in Wal- 
tham, an eminence four hundred and eighty-two feet in height, was 
probably the cause of the teniiic whirling force of this wind. There 
were two opposing air currents of different temperatures, one coming 
from the nortliwest and the other from the southwest, Ihey acted 
suddenly against each other, after a sultry calm of some duration, and 
shortly a third gyratory motion made its appearance between them, 
I'he surface of the ground over which the tornado passed in Waltham 
and Arlington, where the fofce was greatest, was quite undulating and 
diversified. The following diagram gives the course of the tornado 
through Arlington, for a distance of two miles, passing from left to 
right. It shows the effect of the two winds upon it, which resulted 
in the circles it made before il left the town's limits. 



In Waltham, the damage done to property amounted to four thou- 
sand dollars, but the wind was most severe in what was then called 
West Cambridge, but which has since been incorporated as the town 
of Arlington, About two o'clock, as the tornado neared the place, a 
long continued roll of thunder was heard in the northwest, where there 
appeared a very black hank of cloud rising slowly to the height t)f 
fifty degrees, and stretehing frotn west -southwest to east-northeast. 
The air was calm, sultry and oppressive. Not the slightest breeze was 
blowing, not a leaf moved. There was a dead closeness, a remarkable 
want of elasticity in the air, and many complained of lassitude. An 
old sea-captain told his wife about an hour before the awfiil devasta- 
tion occurred, that if he were at sea he should expect a waterspout. 
People felt that something was about to occur, but they did not know 
what. A deathlike stillness prevailed throughout nature, which for 
about two hours seemed to remain still, and then the tornado burst 
• -with terrible fury, destroying houses, stone walls, fences, gardens, etc., 
ingering human life. Large orchards were completely de- 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 313 

stroyed, great trees were uprooted, twisted, shattered, carried long 
distances and tossed about like straws. Oaks, walnuts and maples 
from two to two and a half feet in diameter were treated in the same 
way. Others were uprooted and carried a hundred feet. A great 
number of houses had their chimneys carried away, and were also 
unroofed, the fragments being carried thousands of feet. A two-story 
brick house was entirely demolished, and pieces blown away, hardly 
a trace of it remaining. Cars were also blown from the track. A man 
and a horse were lifted, whirled around, and then set down about a 
hundred yards away. The track of the wind narrowed as it came near 
the Medford line, but the fury increased, injuring several persons, 
and demolishing strongly built houses as if they were made of paper. 
Roofs were taken up as by suction, and carried into the cloud, being 
transported in some instances for miles. When the column of cloud 
and wind caught up the buildings into its huge mouth, it ground them 
to the smallest fragments, as a mill grinds what is put into it. 

Many wonderful incidents occurred in Arlington. The large gro- 
cery and dry goods store of Messrs. Fessenden, Whitmore and com- 
pany was levelled to the ground. Mr. Fessenden was the only person 
in the building at the time, and he was buried in the ruins, being ex- 
tricated in an insensible state. His head and face were badly cut 
and bruised, but he was finally restored to his normal condition. Two 
men were blown entirely across Mystic river, and others were carried 
considerable distances, receiving serious injury. In proceeding to Med- 
ford the tornado passed over Spy pond, where two ice-houses were 
destroyed. In one of them was a man with a horse and chaise. The 
noise of the wind startled the horse, and the man took him by the bridle. 
As the building fell, however, the horse started, dragging the man out of 
it, but the carriage was crushed by the falling timbers. Colonel Doug- 
las of Cambridgeport, with two friends, was sailing on the pond, and 
the wind lifted the boat upon one end, perpendicularly. The mem- 
bers of the party grasped a tree, they being near the shore, and held 
on until the boat righted. This disaster was caused by the water at 
one end of the boat being Ufted in a column upwards of a hundred 
feet in height, and carried to the shore, where some boys, who were 
playing were covered first with water and then with earth, being finally 
blown on to the railroad track, completely coated with mud. It not 
only prostrated the grass and corn, but partly buried them in the earth, 



314 HISTORIC STOKMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

laking the fields look as if a heavy roller had passed over them,^ 
committee appointed for that purpose appraised the damage in Arling- 
ton at twenty-three thousand, six hundred and six dollars, 

Tlie wind passed through Arlington fiom the west-southwest to the 
east- northeast, but wlien it reached the Mystic river, it took a more 
northerly course, and kept it till it reached Maiden. It passed through 
the northern pari of Medford near the railroad depot, a few rods south 
of "Wear" bridge, demolishing several houses, barns and other build- 
ings, and damaging many others, and seriously injuring several per- 
sons. It destroyed property tliere to the extent of eighteen thousand 
seven hundred and sixty-eight dollars, as appraised by a committee 
appointed at the time for that purpose. The track of the wind in this 
town was from forty to seventy-six rods in width, and through much 
of the course the ground was plowed up by the wind in places from 
one to two feet in depth. Parts of roofs, furniture, agricultural imple- 
ments, lumber, trees and chimneys were strewn np and down the 
streets and in the fields. At the "gate," three large and elegant houses 
were blown down. Miss Brooks' large barn, built of heavy timber 
and piank, was taken up and carried fifteen feet before it was lorn to 
pieces. The two-story residence of James M. Sandford, the station 
agent, was carried twenty feet and blown to fragments, while his son 
James, who was eighteen years of age, was passing from the barn to 
the house. It was blown toward him, and his feet became entangled 
in the partly ripped-up sill of the door-way. One of his legs was torn 
open from the knee to the ankle, the bones were cruslied, and the foot 
became a shapeless mass. He lay under the timbers three-fourths of 
an hour before they could be cut away, a work that he directed him- 
self. Both legs were amputated, one above the knee, and the other 
just above the ankle. At the station a heavy baggage car, standing 
on the side track, was driven along the rails one hundred and sixty- 
five feet, and then taken up and carried sixty feet, nearly at right angles 
to the track. A stone wall three and a half feet in height was also 
levelled even with the ground, and the stones were scattered a rod or 
two on each side, badly injuring one of the shoulders of Luke Costello 
and fracturing tlie skull of George Maxwell. Five or six persons were 
also more or less injured in the town by falling buildings, and two 
men at work upon a new house were thrown several rods, one of them 
being considerably hurt. Timothy Pagan's house was unroofed, and 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 315 

his wife's ribs were badly jammed by her body being crowded into an 
opening in one side of the house. A Mr. Nutter's house was also 
unroofed, and his sick wife escaped injury, though the bedstead on 
which she was lying was torn apart, and a beam fell upon it. The 
wife of a Mr. Caldwell, who resided on a hill, while standing in the 
doorway of her house, was caught up and carried across the fields and 
over fences and trees about five hundred feet, being safely deposited 
by the side of a neighbor's barn, without injury, except some slight 
bruises. She knew nothing of her experience in the air. In another 
house a woman was sitting with her child in her lap when the build- 
ing suddenly shook. She thought of no danger, but in a moment or 
two there was a tremendous crash overhead, and on looking upward 
she saw the sky, the roof of the house having been carried away. 
A moment later she was slightly injured on the shoulder by a falling 
timber. The house of a German farmer named Huffmaster was com- 
pletely shaken to pieces, and he was buried beneath its ruins, receiv- 
ing a violent contusion of the brain, which proved fatal. A Mr. West, 
who was building a house for a Mr. Haskins, saw the cloud coming 
from Arlington, and watched it anxiously. As soon as he saw it des- 
troy a new house west of the Lowell railroad station, he sprang out 
of the house where he was at work, and ran, as he says, "for his life," 
to shelter himself behind a wall only five rods distant from the place 
from which he started. He had scarcely reached the shelter when the 
house he had left was totally destroyed. One more instance of the 
terrible power of the wind in this town is that of a pine tree, ten inches 
in diameter, which was broken off, carried several hundred feet into 
the air, and then thrown through the roof and windows of Doctor 
Kidder's house. 

The tornado was also felt in the northern part of Maiden, and then 
it swept on to Lynn, where, at a locality called Wood end, a boat was 
blown out of a pond, a brush heap carried bodily a distance of several 
rods, and apple trees eight or ten inches in diameter torn out of the 
ground. Accompanied by a terrific noise, it pursued its way to the 
upper part of Swampscott, where it uprooted several trees, moved a 
house slightly from its foundation, carried away a porch from another 
house, and scattered pots and kettles. 

It was last heard from at Rockport, on the extreme point of Cape 
Ann, where the wind uprooted trees and forced the tide in to a con- 
siderable height, thus doing much damage to property in stores. 



3l6 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

The day following the catastrophe crowds of people flocked to the 
scene of the principal desolation at Arlington and Medford. 

At the time of the tornado a great deal of rain fell in Lowell, Mass., 
about seventeen miles to the north of Arlington ; and as soon as the 
wind had passed showers of rain fell violently and in great quantities 
for a few minutes all along the northern side of its track, but none 
fell on the southern side. In Waltham, the northern and eastern sides 
of the house in which the principal of the high school lived were cov- 
ered with mud, while on the other sides none was seenl No rain had 
then fallen in the town, and there was no water near the house. Other 
houses were wet, but not muddy. The water and mud were probably 
brought from a distance. 



CHAPTER LXXII. 
The Storm of Aprils 1852. 

THE winter of 1851-52 was very severe. Snow came late in the 
season, thus making the spring backward. In New Hamp- 
shire, a great snow storm began on the fifteenth of April, and 
continued till the next day. Saturday, the seventeenth, was pleasant, 
with bright sunlight ; but on the morning of the next day an easterly 
wind began to blow and a drizzling rain to fall. The wind constantly 
increased in strength and the rain in volume until the water fell in 
torrents and a terrific gale was blowing. The storm continued until 
the next Tuesday night, and it was but a little less severe than the 
great storm of the year before, being productive of much damage to 
property and loss of life even as far south as Virginia. 

This rain melted the snow that fell on the fifteenth, and the rain 
water together with the melted snow greatly swelled the streams, 
causing a freshet in many of them. The earth was saturated, almost 
beyond known precedent, and cellars were flooded everywhere. The 
Kennebec river in Maine was extremely high, the water being eight 
feet deep on the wharves at Hallowell, where it continued to rise im- 
til the morning of Friday, the twenty- third. The Saco river also 
overflowed its banks at its mouth. In New Hampshire, the water 
was over the bridges at Auburn village, and other places. The Nashua 
river reached its height on Tuesday, and caused much damage. The 
mills at Dover and Great Falls w^re stopped by the water, and the 
trains at Newmarket could not be run as the water was so high above 
the rails it extinguished the fires in the locomotives. The freshet was 
as high in Massachusetts as it was farther north, the water in some 
places being two feet above the Nashua and Lowell railroad two 
weeks after the storm. The Merrimac was never known to rise so 
high before j at Lowell and Lawrence all work in the mills having to 
be suspended on account of the flooding of the lower stories. Water 

(317) 



3lS HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENnUND. 

ran eight feet above the dam at Lawrence, and the southern end of 1 
Andover bridge was swept away. Two houses were carried down 
the river on the twenty-second, and at Groveland people boarded i 
them in boats, and saved the furniture. The roads near the mouthj 
of the river were almost impassable and the wharves at Araesburya: 
Salisbury point were five or six feet under water. In most of ih^ 
manufacturing towns in Worcester county the dams and bridges wereJ 
swept away. In Winchendon twelve bridges were washed off, s 
every one of the nine bridges over Miller's river in that town was^ 
either carried away or rendered impassable. The freshet was also 
high in Rhode Island and Connecticut. The Connecticut river was 
very much flooded, and that part of the city of Hartford which lies 
east of Front street was completely inundated, the cellars and, in i 
Charles and other low streets, the first floors of the houses bein^ filled' I 
with water. At Masonville, in Thompson, a woman was drowned. 

The strong wind caused a large number of disasters on the oceaa I 
during the storm. 'Ihe brig Spartan of Boston, while returning from I 
Surinam with a cargo of three hundred hogsheads of molasses, was I 
driven ashore on Plum island at midnight on Monday. The crew of J 
nine persons was saved ; one of them being sick with yellow fever, and I 
most of the others unable to walk. Mr. Lufkin, a farmer, who lived ] 
on the island, in the greatness of his heart took a cart and c 
veyed them all to his house, where he cared fur them in spite of the 1 
terrible disease. The cargo was scattered along the beach, and the I 
vessel was quickly dashed to jjieces by the powerful waves. Other | 
vessels were driven ashore at Nauset point and Alderton and on Chat- 
ham, Uuxbury, Marshfield, Scituatc, Salisbury and Hampton beaches. I 

The fatal shoals of Cape Cod lying off the coast at Truro again 
caught several vessels and sent them to destruction with many human 
lives. A Banish brig struck the bar, and went to pieces, all hands be- 
ing lost. Among others were a ship named /««, three barks, the ' 
Josepha, Queen and Solway, and two English schooners. The most 
interesting of these disasters was the wreck of the htixV Josepha, which 
belonged in Gloucester, England, and had sailed from Bristol for Bos- 
ton March 19, with a cargo of railroad iron, while lead and skins. 
It was commanded by Captain Cawsey, and the whole crew numbered 1 
nineteen men, all of whom were young. The craft was six years old, 
of about six hundred tons burden, and heavily and substantially built I 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 319 

of larch and other woods from the north of England, being ironed 
with heavy braces. The ocean voyage was short and prosperous, and 
they made Cape Cod light at twelve o'clock Monday night, April 19, 
In the thick fog and the easterly gale they took a southeasterly 
course to get clear of the land. After running out far enough to ac- 
complish their purpose, as the captain thought, they backed and 
sailed in toward the shore intending to enter Cape Cod bay. The 
fog was so thick they could not tell where they were, but when they 
tacked, to their surprise and horror, they discovered upon sounding 
that the water was only fifteen fathoms deep, and that they were right 
on the breakers. The vessel struck on the outer bar off the head of 
the marshes about half a mile north of the Highland light. This was 
at about three o'clock on Tuesday afternoon. She was soon on her 
beam ends and after a few more of the violent and powerful seas that 
were running on the bar had struck her, the starboard quarter was 
carried away. The crew knew that the bark could not hold together 
very long in that tremendous sea, and they launched the pinnace, but 
it was instantly dashed to pieces, and the long boat, which they next 
got out, met with the same fate. A few minutes later the deck gave 
way from the stern to the foremast, the main and mizzen masts fell over- 
board, and the larboard side fell in. What was left of the vessel lay 
about three hundred yards from the shore, and the sea was continu- 
ally washing over it. While she was in that condition, at about five 
o'clock in the afternoon, three boys who were walking on the beach 
saw her as the fog lifted a little. They immediately informed Mr, 
Hamilton, the keeper of the Highland lighthouse, and with the life 
preservers, India rubber coats, caps, etc., belonging to the Humane 
society, he hurried toward the beach. A messenger went to Pond 
village, Truro, a mile away, and shouted through the streets, "A 
ship ashore, and all hands perishing !" a cry that always caused the 
men of Cape Cod to spring to their feet and hasten to the, beach. A 
large number assembled. They could see the spray from the waves 
fly over the foremast, which remained standing, and plainly distin- 
guish several men clinging to the larboard side of the vessel, their 
heart-rending cries for assistance being heard above the thunder of 
the storm. The life-boat was kept a mile away, but even had it been 
there it was doubtful if it could have survived the mighty surf. But 
the piercing cries rang on, and the men of Cape Cod could never 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ESGLAND. 



cue the 1 



320 

permit such calls to conlmue witliout risking their lives to rescue 
mariners. The rocket belonging to the Humane society thai was used 
for throwing a line to a wreck was tried and burst. Jonathan Col- 
lins, who had just arisen from the tea-table, procured the lighthouse 
dory, and against the entreaties of the people present started to go 
out in the boat to carry a line to the wreck. This was about seven 
o'clock. David U, Smith took his watch from his pocket and handed 
it to a neighbor, but as he was about to step into the boat to go with 
Collins, a brave young man, named D. H. Cassidy, only twenty-three 
years old, who had been married but a few days, pushed Smith aside 
and took his seat in the boat. They pushed out into the mountains 
of foaming waters, on, on through the raging seas, until they had got 
within about fifteen yards of the wreck, when the boat capsized, and 
both men perislied. The evening had long since set in, and the dark- 
ness of a stormy night shrouded land and water. Nothing could be 
done to save the dying men. Fires were built on the beach, and 
companies formed to patrol the shore to discover and lend assist- 
ance to anyone that might come ashore. The strong heavy timbers 
of the vessel were heard crashing asunder, and all believed that some 
of the men must soon be washed on the beach but that they would be 
alive no one dared hope. About eleven o'clock, the patrol found a 
man kneeling before one of the fires. It was one of the crew named 
George Chitney, who informed the patrol that when the foremast gave 
way the broad side of the bark went with it and that he and John 
Jasper, who was then lying at the edge of the water, being much 
bmised about the feet and in a dying condition, clung to the timbers, 
and though washed off several times, the rigging catching in the rail- 
road iron, held them for an hour and a half, they being at length 
washed ashore. Both the men were taken to the lighthouse, where 
they were kindly cared for, and only those two out of the crew of 
eighteen were saved. The body of Cassidy was found and buried at 
North Truro. Only six other bodies were recovered, and they were 
interred at Provincetown. 



CHAPTER LXXIII. 

The Freshet of November^ ^^53- 

■TTBOUT the middle of November, 1853, a great rain storm caused 
P| a freshet all through New England. On Sunday, the thir- 
J teenth of the month, rain fell apparently as heavily as it had 
since the deluge. .The darkness in the churches was very great, and 
many of the pulpits were lighted artificially, while in others the cler- 
gymen could hardly see to read, or discontinued the services. Some 
of the churches in Boston were closed, and a newspaper of that time 
said that the congregation of the Brattle Square church heard an ex- 
cellent sermon though they hardly saw the preacher, and that they 
sang the hymns beginning : 

"Mark the softly falling snow, and the descending rain," 

and 

"Hear what God the Lord hath spoken. 
Oh, my people, faint and few." 

A bridge of some thirty or forty feet span on the Vermont valley 
railroad between Dummerston and Putney, Vt., was carried away. 
In Maine it was the greatest freshet that had occurred in the Penob- 
scot river for twenty years. The boom at Veazie broke, and a large 
number of logs floated away. The village of Kenduskeag was badly 
flooded, a dam was carried away, and a teamster was drowned in the 
road there. 

The Connecticut river and its tributaries were greatly swollen, and 
much damage was done on the Housatonic, Naugatuck and Danbury 
and Norwalk railroads. The Agawam meadows were under water, 
and the bridge at Mittineague was carried off". The railroad bridge 
at Seymore, and a highway bridge at Ansonia, both over the Nauga- 
tuck river, went off" together with other bridges in that region. The 
western end of the bridge at Ansonia abutted on high ground, while 
21 (321) 



32a 



HISTORIC STORMS C 



through the village of Ansonia on the eastern side of the stream wa-^ 
ter ran rapidly and at great depth. On the bridge were several per- ' 
sons, who were watching the water on that Sunday evening when the 1 
middle pier fell, throwing the people into Ihe water. A young lady, 
a young man and some other persons were drowned, and others clung 
to the abutments, to stumps and roots of trees, and to bushes until they 
were rescued. Cries for help were heard from several places in the 
water, but there was no boat to help them, and if there had been the 
water was raging so fiercely that few would have dared to risk theu- 
lives to go out to them. The shrieks of the drowning became heartrend- 
ing, and several of the citizens of Ansonia ran their horses to Bir- 
mingham, two miles away, to procure a boat. 'I'his was speedily 
obtained, and hauled to the place, four brave men stepping into it and 
pulling out into the maddened stream amidst the floating trees, bridges, 
and timbers. There was great excitement as the light in the boat | 
was watched, darting down on the current. At the southeastern , 
abutment of the bridge were found ten or fifteen persons, unable to | 
escape. They were brought ashore, the water bailed out of the boat, 
and the crew started again for those farther doivn the stream. But \ 
clinging lo bushes and other supports for two and a half hours had ex- 
hausted their strength, and timbers had swept them down the current. 
A number were rescued, but not all, several being drowned. 



CHAPTER LXXIV. 

Winter of 1856-57. 

THE winter of 1856-57 was one of the severest winters ever 
known in this climate, and is the last very rigorous season that 
has occurred in New England. It began much earlier than 
usual, and continued far into the spring. There were thirty-two snow 
storms in all, three more than the average number for a score of 
years, and the snow fell to the depth of six feet and two inches, the 
average depth for twenty years having been but four feet and four 
inches in eastern Massachusetts. 

The preceding summer had been hot, and the weather was pleasant 
nearly all the time to the middle of December, though considerable 
snow had fallen and there had been some sleighing. Extreme cold 
weather, however, began on the night of the seventeenth of the month, 
when the thermometer fell in Massachusetts to twelve degrees below 
zero, and in Maine to sixteen below. The next day the temperature 
was scarcely above zero anywhere in New England, it being the cold- 
est day that had been experienced since December 16, 1835. During 
the remainder of the month the weather was very inclement for the 
season, with strong and boisterous winds. On the night of the twenty- 
third there was a violent snow storm, which extended over a large 
tract of country, and during which snow fell to the depth of four or 
five inches on the level, making good sleighing. During the storm, 
the strong wind caused several wrecks on the coast. 

January opened with a snow storm on the third, accompanied by 
a violent southeast wind. Snow was now twelve inches deep on the 
level, and sleighing was good. The railroad companies were more or 
less hindered by the snow which blocked their tracks and prevented 
the cars from running. The temperature became colder and colder, 
being from the sixth to the eighth below zero and almost unbearable 
because of the strong piercing wind which prevailed and which pene- 

• (323) 



324 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

trated the thickest clothing. The whole country was afflicted by the 
rigor of the season, the west esf ecially suffering terribly from it. The 
roads were still drifted, and mails and trains from the south and 
east were greatly delayed. In New Hampshire, on the twelfth, the 
thermometer indicated nineteen degrees below Kcro, and there was a 
very severe snow storm prevailing, accompanied by a gale that caused 
damage to the shipping along the coast. 

" lie long and ctreary winlet 1 
O the cold and cruel ulnlerl 
Ever thicket, thicker, thicker 
Ftoie the ice on lake and river, 
Ever deeper, deeper, deeper 
Fell the snuiv o'er all the laadscape, 
Fell the cuvering snow and drifted 
Through the (orest, round the village." 

Provisions were sold at eKtremely high prices, and poor people 
suffered much for want of good and necessary food. Contributions 
for their benefit were taken in many of the churches in the cities. 

On the night of Saturday, January 17, and also the next day, the 
cold was severer than it had beeii during the winter. At Salem, Mass., 
the temperature ' was twenty below zero on Saturday night, and five 
below on Sunday noon. At Lowell, Mass., on Sunday morning it was 
twenty below, and at noon six. By evening, however, it had risen to 
twelve above zero, and snow had begun to fall. The wind was strong 
and from the northeast, and as the night advanced the storm increased 
until it became one of the severest and most violent that had been 
known for very many years. For several hours after sunrise the next 
morning the wind continued to be very cutting, and it was hard to 
face. The violence of the storm ceased before eleven o'clock in 
the forenoon, but snow continued to fall in flurries all through the 
day. Snow fell to a great depth, drifts on the northern side of Essex 
street in Salem, Mass., being from eight to twelve feet deep. Busi- 
ness was necessarily almost entirely suspended everywhere, and the 
streets were so blocked that no draught animal made an appearance 
during the day, milkmen, bakers and butchers making no attempt to 
distribute their supplies in the ordinary manner. A Sabbath stillness 
prevailed in the city as well as in the country. No cars could be run, 
no maite came or went during the d;ty, and scarcely any one travelled 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 325 

about the streets. The snow was too deep to be pathed in the old- 
fashioned ways by oxen, either with a log or with the Swedish heater. 
Not quite as much snow fell in Maine during this storm as in 
Massachusetts, but in the south it came in remarkable quantities, be- 
ing at Washington, D. C, two feet deep. The wind forced the snow 
into every crevice and cranny, and large drifts were deposited in barns 
and other buildings that were apparently water-tight. The streets in 
Boston were piled full of snow, and three days afterward many of them 
had not been broken out. Several people were nearly smothered or 
frozen to death, the cold during the storm being most intense, and 
the wind drove the snow into the faces of those that were travelling. 
Snow shoes were found to be necessary to pedestrianism, and many 
of the old ones were hunted up and brought into use ^gain. 

The violent wind which prevailed during this storm wrought many 
disasters on both sea and land. The steeple of the church in the 
village of Campello,^ Mass., blew down, crashing through the body 
of the church into the cellar. The steeples of the Episcopal and the 
Second Congregational churches in Waterbury, Conn., met with the 
same fate, as also did the spire on the Congregational church in Fair- 
haven, Mass., which was one of the tallest in the state. A house in 
New Bedford, Mass., was also completely demolished by the wind. 
The gale was unusually severe on the ocean, being very disastrous to 
the shipping ; many vessels were driven ashore and several lives lost. 
At Provincetown, on Cape Cod, it was one of the worst storms ever 
experienced in that vicinity, the wind blowing a hurricane from ten 
o'clock Sunday evening until twelve o'clock Monday night. Seventeen 
of the twenty vessels in the harbor were driven ashore. Another vessel, 
the schooner Bonita of Eastport, Me., which had sailed from her home 
port before the storm, had anchored at Cape Ann on account of the 
wind. She parted her cables and, drifting across Massachusetts bay 
in the thick snow storm, was finally driven on shore at Provincetown, 
about half a mile east of Race point, on the night of the nineteenth. 
After striking, the sea made a complete breach over the vessel, wash- 
ing overboard a man, who was drowned before he could be rescued. 
Another man perished on board, being buried under the floating rub- 
bish of the cabin. By tlie strenuous and noble efforts of the people 

^A part of Brockton. 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW EN LAND 



3.6 

of Provincetown, four of the crew were 

water had risen above their waists, and the a 

to the bit heads, while others of the crew 1 

mainmast. The mate succeeded after grea t 

floating some yarn througii ihe surf to the beach, where it was secured 

by the inhabitants, who attached to it a small rope and to that a small 

hawser which were successively pulled on board the wreck by the 

mate. To the hawser he fastened the captain, who was very much 

benumbed, and tiirew him overboard. Tlie other two of the crew that 



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England during this century. The "Cold Friday" of i8io was more 
blustering, but the temperature was not so low. At sunrise on the morn- 
ing of the nineteenth the mercury congealed at Franconia, N. H., and 
aCMontpelierandSl.Johnsbury, Vt.,it was fifty degrees below zero, the 
coldest ever known there. The following are some of the degrees be- 
low zero that the thermometer indicated at the same lime in the differ- 
ent places named. In Maine, at Portland, twenty-nine ; Bangor, forty- 
four; and at Bath, fifty-two. In New Hampshire, at Keene, twenty- 
four ; Nashua, twenty-eight ; Dover, thirty-one ; and at Manchester, 
thirty-five. In Vermont, at Northfield, forty. In Massachusetts, at 
Boston, sixteen ; New Bedford, twenty ; Fall River, twenty-six ; Wor- 
cester, twenty-six ; Salem, twenty six ; Lowell, thirty ; Maiden, thirty ; 
Taunton, thirty ; and at Springfield, thirty-three. In Rhode Island, at 
Providence, twenty-six; and at Woonsocket, thirty-five. In Connecti- 
cut, at New Haven, twenty-seven ; Hartford, thirty-two ; and at Coven- 
try, thirty-two. The temperature continued to be as low as it was on 
the nineteenth until the twenty sixth. At Auburn, Me., on the twenty- 
third it was twenty-two below zero, and at Weare, N. H., forty below, 
and although the temperature was lower than it was on "Cold Friday" 




HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND, 327 

the day was much more bearable as there was no wind. This was not 
true in all parts of New England, however, as in some sections a brisk 
northwest wind prevailed throughout the day, causing the thermome- 
ter to descend at Lawrence, Mass., to thirty-two degrees below zero ; 
at Amherst, N. H., to thirty - five ; at Northfield, Vt., to forty; at 
White River junction to forty-three ; and at Bangor, Me., to forty-four. 
Long Island sound was frozen the whole width for the first time as far 
as known. The twenty-fourth was thought to have been the severest 
day ever experienced in New Hampshire, the thermometer at Amherst 
descending to thirty-seven degrees below zero. The air was very thin 
and peculiarly transparent and light, and the sky therefore remarkably 
clear. A strong northwest wind blew all day. At Franconia, N. H., 
the temperature was forty-nine degrees below zero, and it was the 
severest day ever known there. At Auburn, Me., it was forty below, 
and at Manchester, Mass., it was thirty-seven. On the twenty-fifth, 
the weather had moderated a little, being then at Auburn, Me., only 
six degrees below zero, and at the same place on the next day two 
below. This was the coldest week ever known in New England, and 
the severest January there had been at least for ten years. During 
this spell the harbor of Portsmouth, N. H., was frozen over, a thing 
that was never known to have occurred before. In fact the reign of 
this rigorous weather continued from December 20 to January 27, and 
during all that time snow did not melt on the roofs of buildings in the 
greater portion of New England. 

On the twenty-seventh of the month, it began to thaw, and rain fell. 
Two heavy rain storms followed, one immediately succeeding the be- 
ginning of the thaw and the other after the lapse of a week. The rain 
fell in the greatest quantity on Sunday, February 8, when a vast 
amount of snow was carried away, causing freshets on the ninth and 
tenth in all parts of the country. At Norwich, Conn., the destruction 
of property on the Shetucket river was very great ; and the heavy timber 
from Lord*s and Lathrop's bridges (which were carried away) was 
driven down the stream with fearful power. East Chelsea was sub- 
merged in 1807, but at this time the water front of Norwich was swept 
over by the raging flood. Below the city the river was blocked by ice, 
which caused the water to be thrown back upon the wharves and 
buildings of Water street, suddenly deluging the territory. 

The freshet was followed by fine weather, though the temperature 



jaS HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGlJ\ND. 

was often below zero. The snow was still very deep io Vermont, and 
sleighing was good throughout New England. One of the most pow- 
erful and destructive slides of snow that ever took place in New Eng- 
land occurred on February 22, on the side of a hill at Caslleton, Vt., 
completely demolishing the barn and wagon shed of Merlin Clark. 
His residence was also in its course, being a few rods farther down 
the hill, and that also would have been destroyed had not the bam 
and shed lessened the force of the avalanche. As it was, the doors and 
windows of the house were broken, and the rooms almost filled with I 
snow, ic& and water, A child that was lying in a cradle in one of the J 
apartments was completely buried by the snow, but was rescued with- 

During the latter part of February the weather was mild, and on 
the first of March, bluebirds, blackbirds and robins appeared in ^ 
Massachusetts, three weeks earlier than usual ; but on that afternoon | 
snow began to fall again, and the mercury descended to a point below j 
freezuig. The wind also rose, and before midnight was blowing most j 
violently. 

The weather during the spring was very changeable, March 31 
and April 1 were mild and genial days, the temperature being as high 1 
as sixty degrees above zero ; but at eleven o'clock in the evening of | 
April I a change rapidly occurred, A blustering snow storm set in, [ 
which continued through the remainder of the night. The next morn- 
ing the thermometer had fallen to seven degrees above zero. On the I 
third of the month three inches of snow fell during a piercing gale of 1 
wind; but the sixth was very warm, the temperature being iifty-four 
degrees above zero, the wind south, and the weather dull a 

On April zo and 21, there was a severe rain storm, which flooded I 
cellars, and carried away every bridge in Bartlett, N. H. Vessels ' 
chafed at wharves along the coast, and many were driven ashore. 
Salem, Mass., snow fell for several hours, and at Deerfield, in the same ] 
commonwealth, there was still good sleighing. 

This was one of the coldest winters ever known in the south as w^U I 

in the north and west, and it is said that the first snow storm known 1 
to have occurred in the city of Mexico was experienced this winter, 
on the night of January 31. 



CHAPTER LXXV. 
The Gale of September <9, i86g. 

ON the afternoon of Wednesday, September 8, 1869, occurred 
the last violent gale that New England has experienced. In 
the early part of the afternoon the weather was warm and pleas- 
ant, but at about half- past three the wind began to breeze up from 
the southeast and rain commenced to fall. The wind increased in 
force until five o'clock, when it blew a hurricane and continued rag- 
ing until between eight and nine o'clock in the evening. It was ac- 
companied by a heavy fall of rain, which came down in sheets, flood- 
ing the streets and greatly refreshing the earth after a long drought. 
A warm still atmosphere succeeded the wind, and the next day the 
weather was fine. 

The storm was a very narrow one, being less than fifty miles wide. It 
passed over Narragansett and Buzzard bays in a northerly direction, 
and when it reached the coast, at Boston, its course changed to the 
northeast, following the shore as far as Cape Ann. It then swept 
across the ocean to the coast of Maine, and was felt but a short dis- 
tance below Portland. The city of Fall River, Mass., was in the 
middle of the storm belt, but the extremity of Cape Cod escaped the 
raging elements, and it was only an ordinary storm at Lowell, Mass., 
and at Nashua, N. H. ^ 

Great damage was done on both land and water. Telegraph wires, 
trees, fences and chimneys were blown down in every direction, and 
a great amount of fruit was destroyed. Many roads were blocked 
with fallen trees, and several tall factory chimneys were blown to the 
ground. In Boston, the famous Coliseum building was wrecked, and 
with it its great organ and big drum. A fatal accident happened at 
the time it was blown over to Granville M. Clark, who lived near the 
building. He was just entering his residence when he heard that a 
person had been injured in the fall of the Coliseum, and he started to 

(329) 



-•.! 



33° HISTORIC STORMS OF N 

go there, but a furious gust of wind tore up tlie wooden sidewalk on 
which he was walking, and the timber was hurled against him so vio- 
lently that his skull was badly fractured, his lips severely cut, and one 
arm broken. He fell bleeding and insensible, and died shortly after 
seven o'clock. The beautiful spire of tlie Hanover- street Methodist 
church was blown down, and several fine church edifices in the city : 
were severely injured. In Chelsea, Mass., a tenement block was en- 
tirely blown down, and another house was lifted from its foundations. 
The spire of the First Baptist churcli in Lynu, one hundred and sixty 
feet in height, also fell, nearly crushing the western wing of the church. 
A house on Marblehead Neck was blown down, injuring two men, one 
of whom died the next morning. At Salem, John Groverwas carried 
some distance by the wind, and had one of his shoulders broken. In 
Peabody, Thomas E. Proctor's large building, two hundred feet long, 
was blown over, a twD-story house was moved from its foundation, 
and two or three other houses were blown down. At Beverly, two I 
houses and several other buildings were blown over. In Hamilton, 
the wind blew down Francis Dane's great barn, which was one hun- 
dred feet long. 

The gale was also disastrous on the ocean, vessels dragged their I 
anchors in the harbors and elsewhere, several being driven asliore at J 
Marblehead, Mass., and at Kennebunk, Boothbay, Portland and Orr's I 
island in Maine. At Gloucester, the scene on the beach was most 
exciting, wrecks being strewn along the shore. Fortunately there 
were but few craft in port at the time, else there would have been i 
greater loss. The crews of several vessels were saved by means of i 
the lifeboat, after repeated attemjUs had failed on account of the fear- | 
fill power of the sea. A brave crew of seven men volunteered for the I 
hazardous service, and another man risked his life to carry a rope to j 
one of the vessels, by means of which the men were saved. Several ] 
other heroic acts were performed at this pott during the gale. 

The schooner Helen Eliza, belonging in Rockport, Mass., with a | 
crew of twelve men, Edward J. Millet, master, was near Portland, 
Maine, when the storm came on, and the captain decided to lake ref- 
uge in that harbor. They had sailed within siglit of Ram island when 
a thick fog settled over the coast, followed by the rain and wind. 
Cables broke and sails blew away. The men saw Portland light, and 
concluded to run to it, but could not make the channel. With an- 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 33I 

chors gone, in the terrible sea, the hurricane drove them on. Captain 
Millet stood at the helm till he was killed, it is supposed, by a blow 
from the main boom. The scKooner struck on Peak's island, smash- 
ing in the bow, and instantly killing five of the crew. Having divested 
himself of all his clothing but his trousers and shirt, Charles Jordan, 
one of the survivors, ran into the hold, but had scarcely reached it 
when a tremendous sea tore off the deck, and he was swept into the 
raging waters. He regained the wreck, and clung to it while he got 
his breath and rested. An empty barrel was floating near the vessel, 
and he swam to it, using it as a support. The waves ran fearfully 
high, and as he was driven toward the shore he passed two of his ship- 
mates who were clinging to a plank. He was carried in the direction 
of a rocky bluff, and was almost exhausted in trying to keep the barrel 
in position, the undertow becoming very powerful as he approached 
the shore. The waves would heave him toward the ledges, and then 
bury him in their treacherous waters, but at length he grasped the 
rocks, and in their crevices he put his fingers, holding on until he could 
regain strength to drag himself up their steep and jagged sides. He 
finally reached the top, becoming completely exhausted. He heard 
one of the men calling, but they were seen no more. Mr. Jordan dis- 
covered that he. was on a ledge, at some distance from the shore, and 
after a short time he again plunged into the raging waves to make an- 
other struggle in the surf. His strength was fast leaving him, and he 
apparently made no headway ; moments seemed hours ; but he finally 
reached the shore, and drew himself beyond the breakers. It was 
about nine o'clock in the evening, and after awhile he found a house, 
whose inmates furnished him with clothing, nourishment and care. He 
was the only one of the crew that was saved. Four bodies were found, 
and their funeral was held in the First Congregational church at Rock- 
port on Saturday of the same week. 



CHAPTER LXXVr. 
The Tornado at IVallingford, Conn., in 1878. 

DURING the last of July and the first of August, 1878, showers | 
with thunder and lightning occurred almost daily, and c 
of the days there were several disastrous ones. Foe two or thre&| 
weeks there seemed to be more and greater thunder showers than thea 
people of New England iiad ever experienced. Wind blowing « 
the force of a tornado frequently accompanied them, especially thosel 
that occurred on the eighth and ninth of August. 

On the afternoon of Friday, the ninth, in all sections of the ihreeB 
southern New England states there was great destruction of propertj^j 
by lightning, and several persons were killed by it. Rain fell in greatB 
quantities, falling in Boston to the greatest depth ever known, and in.' 
several places wind was very disastrous. The tornado that occurred 1 
at Wallingford, Conn., was the most terrific and resulted in the great- 
est destruction of life and property that was ever caused in New Eng- 
land by such means. 

Rain began to fall at about six o'clock, and in a few minutes it in— J 
creased to a deluge. Heavy black clouds gathered over the villagers 
making it dark as night, and lightning illumined the gloomy 
while thunder continually rolled and crashed along the clouds. Whenl 
the shower was at its worst, without a moment's warning, a fearful 
tornado swept across the northern part of the town, from west to eastjl 
accompanied by hail. The wind swept before it the rain and everj 
movable tiling that lay in its track, heavy and light articles being alike | 
carried away and destroyed. Wooden houses were unroofed or blown 
off their foundations, some only a few feet, others an eighth of a mile. 
Its track, which was less than half a mile wide and about two n 
length, lay over what is known as the "sand plains," about a quarter of 1 
a mile north of the railroad station, and near the line of the New York, J 
New Haven and Hartford railroad. For a slight distance on either ' 
(333) 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 333 

side of it some damage was done, especially to chimneys, but it was 
not to be compared to that which occurred within the track. The 
wind came and went alniost in an instant, but in that time many strong, 
healthy persons had been swept into eternity, and desolation had come 
upon the town. Such a frightful scene had never before been wit- 
nessed by the inhabitants. Immediately after the destruction took 
place, fire burst out among the ruins in many places, being occasioned 
by burning lamps and stoves, and for a time it seemed that a terrible con- 
flagration would add to the horror of the scene ; but the rain which 
continued for about an hour fortunately extinguished the flames. At 
eight o*clock, the sky was clear and the moon shone brightly and se- 
renely over the scene. 

The tremendous force of the wind and the awful desolation it caused 
can perhaps be conceived when the reader learns that thirty-four per- 
sons lost their lives, twenty-eight more were severely injured, and that 
one hundred and sixty buildings were wholly ruined, which with the 
other property destroyed amounted to two millions of dollars in value. 
Among the buildings wholly demolished were forty dwelling houses 
and fifty barns. The latter were in some instances, raised clear of the 
hay contained in them, which were left standing. Trees and fences 
were torn away, and hurled through the air as though nothing but 
straws. The damage to property and the loss of life were caused by 
the force of the wind alone, many persons being killed by the falling 
houses. 

The town was in a state of uproar and consternation, and the great- 
est excitement prevailed. Immediate assistance was needed from oth- 
er places, but there were no means of communication. The telegraph 
pole? and wires were blown down, the cars would probably be late, 
and the distance to Meriden, the nearest town, was six miles. Little 
John Hoey, only twelve years old, thinking that the trains would be 
delayed, rode on horseback to Meriden for help. At seven o'clock, 
the steam cars arrived, and by them a message was sent to Meriden. On 
the express that left that place at half-past seven came seven physicians 
and other assistance, and systematic work was immediately begun. The 
dead bodies were searched out and brought together, twelve being laid 
on the children's desks in the Plains school-house. The town hall was 
transformed into a hospital, and those who were seriously wounded were 
conveyed thither, being placed in charge of the physicians and profes- 



J34 HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW 

sional nurses. There were wounded persons of both sexes, young I 
and old, some with broken arms, legs and backs and fractured skuUs, i 
and others suffering from concussiou of the brain and internal injuries. J 
The scene throughout the place will never be forgotten by those that! 
witnessed it. A guard of one hundred and sixty men was immediateljfT^ 
placed over the desolated district. 

Twenty-five of the dead were buried in the town cemetery on Sun-] 
day, the eleventh, an immense throng of ten thousand persons being 1 
present at the sad services, which were conducted by Rev. Mr. Leol 
of Winsted, assisted by Rev. Messrs. Slocum and O'Connell of New I 
Haven and Mallon of Waliingford. There were two thousand car- |^ 
riages in the procession that followed the remains to the cemelery. 

The disaster was not only sad and distressing on account of the loss i 
of life and personal injuries, but in the great loss of property, build- 
ings, furniture and goods, which belonged principally to the working- \ 
men, entailed upon the coromuniiy many privations that had to be met. I 
In several of the towns and cities around, public meetings were held! 
to raise funds to assist the sufferers from this terrible catastrophe.! 
The Catholic diocese immediately responded to the wants of the peo- ^ 
pie, all those that died being of that faith, except Mr. Liltlewood, and 
assistance came as freely and in as large amounts from Protestants. 

Many wonderful incidents were related of fearful deaths and narrow 
escapes. Over the lake at the Waliingford community two clouds 
appeared to come together, and reaching down to the water drew it 
up in an immense spout seemingly two hundred feet high. A man ' 
was out on the lake in a boat, and when he saw the fearful commotion J 
he jumped into the water, and swam ashore ; but had scarcely done I 
so when he saw his boat carried into the air and lodged on a hill. Four \ 
persons belonging to the family of John Mnnson were buried in the 
cellar when the house was blown down, and it was a good while before 
they could be dug out of the ruitis. Two of them were slightly injured 
and the other two escaped. Michael Kelly, who was driving in a 
buggy, was blown in his team some thirty feet over a precipice, and 
both himself and horse escaped with slight injury. A boy named 
Matthew Mooney was struck by the wind as he was standing on the 
railroad track, and was blown fifty feet, being almost beheaded. A 
woman was lifteda hundred feet into the air, carried along seven hun- 
dred feet, and then dropped to the earth, her remains being found hor- 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 335 

ribly mangled. A Mrs. Huxley had her child in her arms when she 
was picked up, both being dead and almost scalped. Frederic Lit- 
tlewood was found dead by the side of the road, where he was killed 
by flying timbers. He was one of the many men that were on their 
way home from the shops where they worked, having finished their 
labors for the day. In the Catholic cemetery, the largest monuments 
were torn up and trees were uprooted. The wooden church of the 
Catholics, and the new brick High-school building were both crushed 
to a mass of ruins. To this scene of disaster and desolation there 
was a constant stream of visitors for several days after the catastrophe. 



CHAPTER LXXVir. 
The Yellow Day of i8Si. 

ON Tuesday, September 6, 1 8Si, occurred a darkness which over- 
spread New England almost ail day. It was similar to the fa- 
mous "dark day" of 1780, but on account of the intense brassy 
appearance, which everything assumed, it wi!i go down in history aS 
"the yellow day." 

The smeil of smoke'had filled the air for several days, indicating 
its presence in large quantities. People generally at the present time 
have but little doubt that all the dark days here were caused by smoke. 
They have all occurred when the ground was bare, and either in the 
spring or autumn. With reference to the source of the smoke, various 
opinions were given : some believed that it came from extensive forest 
fires which, it was said, were then raging in Canada and the West; 
others thought it might be due to an active volcano in the interior of 
Labrador, while still others supposed it came from the immense peat 
bogs of the Labrador barrens, which in dry seasons burn to the rocks, 
the fire running over them faster than on a prairie. In two or three 
days time it has sometimes swept from Hudson bay to the Gulf of St. 
Lawrence. 

On the morning of "the yellow day" there was no apparent gather- 
ing of clouds, such as occurred on the "dark day" of 1780, but early 
in the morning the sun and sky appeared red, and toward noon every 
part of the sky assumed a yellow cast, which tinged everything, build- 
ings, ground, foliage and verdure, with its peculiar novel shade. All 
things were beautiful, strange and weird, and it seemed as if na- 
ture was passing into an enchanted state. It was at first intensely 
interesting, but as the hours dragged on, and but slight change oc- 
curred the sight became oppressive. The wonderful spectacle will 
never be forgotten by those who witnessed it. 

The day was warm, and the air was close and still, being in some 



fflSTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 337 

sections most densely charged with moisture. The darkness continued 
until near the time of sunsetting, when the red sky and sun again ap- 
peared, and the darkness lifted. 

The effect of the darkness upon animals was similar to that of the 
"dark day" of 1 780, though in but a slight degree, some of the poul- 
try retiring to their roosts. Lamps were lighted in shops and offices 
to enable people to see to work or read and write, their flames being 
white as silver, and gas-jets appeared like electric lights. Work was 
suspended in many places, partly on account of the darkness, and 
partly because of the gloom. In many schools a recess was taken 
during the darkest part of the day, and in several instances the schol- 
ars were dismissed. 

People were considerably excited in some places, thinking that a 
tempest or some extraordinary commotion of the elements would 
follow, causing dire disaster. Others thought that the earth was pass- 
ing through the tail of a comet. Still others felt that it might be the 
last great day of darkness, though they were not very solicitous for 
themselves or others ; and some Adventists thought that the end of 
the world was approaching, when they would meet their Lord, al- 
though few of them believed it strongly enough to make any prepara- 
tion for the glorious event. There were some persons who suggested 
that it might be a token of divine sympathy for President Garfield, 
who was then dying at Elberon. 

The darkness prevailed over a large part of New England, being 
noticed as far northward as White River junction in Vermont, some 
distance into Maine, westward to Albany, N. Y., and south into Con- 
necticut, where it cleared early in the afternoon. 
22 




Cyclone at Lawrence, Mass., in i8go. 



TTT about nine o'clock in the forenoonof Saturday, July 24, 1890, 
r\ a cyclone swept down upon the southern portion of the city of 
/ - Lawrence, Mass. Rain had begun to fall in torrents a few 
moments before, and after ihe slty had lighted up momentarily dark 
clouds rolled together, and the terrible whirhng wind dashed through 
the city in an easterly direction, without a moment's warning. The 
path of the cyclone vai'ied in width from fifty to three hundred feet. 
The noise of the wind was not very loud although it was heard some 
distance away, the principal sound attending it being that of falling 
houses. During its progress the air was filled with boards, shingles, 
limbs of trees, and debris in general, whirling roimd and round. It 
was all over in a minute, the air was quiet again, as though innocent 
of having done any mischief. 

The cyclone struck the city at a point a little west of Broadway, 
which is the main thoroughfare leading from Lawrence to Andover 
by way of the bridge near the great dam. On that side of Broadway 
very little damage was done to houses, but many trees lost large 
branches, which the wind threw about in profusion. The Catholic 
church on the other side of the street, at the corner of Broadway and 
Salem streets, was somewhat damaged, having some of its windows 
broken, losing in some cases entire sections of them and, at the rear 
end, the roof of one of the transepts. Continuing across the over- 
head railroad bridge on Salem street, the wind first demolished the 
house of Dea. William F. Cutler on the corner of Salem and Blanch- 
ard streets, leaving it a mass of niins fit for notliing but kindling wood. 
There were three or four persons in the house at the time, and they 
all escaped with slight injuries. A daughter of Mr. Cutler would 
probably have been killed had not a piano protected her from falling 
timbers. Another daughter, named Helen, eleven years old, who was 
(338) 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 339 

near the house, was blown down the embankment at the eastern end 
of the bridge, and then struck by a timber, receiving a concussion of 
the brain. She lived but a few hours. The house next to Deacon 
Cutler's, which stood near it, being occupied by Doctor Birming- 
ham, only suffered the loss of a few shingles, a single chimney, and 
some broken windows. The railroad bridge was also slightly injured. • 

To this point the wind had taken an easterly course, but now it 
changed a little to the north, following Springfield street, where the 
devastation was greatest. That street ran in the same direction as 
Salem street, and lay beyond it. Most of the houses on the street 
were either blown down, rolled over upon their sides, had the sides 
torn out, or were otherwise damaged. 

The cyclone then crossed Union street and came upon a grove of 
trees many of which were twisted off at the trunk or taken up by the 
roots. Just beyond this point a very pretty street extended through a 
grove, among the trees of which the wind wrought great havoc, many of 
them being torn up and twisted off. In Portland street, some half a 
^ozen houses met the same fate as those on Springfield street, and 
some of the trees were injured. At that point the wind seemed to 
have spent its force. 

In many cases the houses were completely demolished, in others the 
roofs were lifted and blown oft, leaving the buildings in their orig- 
inal shape. In at least one instance one of the walls of a house was 
ripped off, leaving the interior of the rooms exposed to view from top 
to bottom, but otherwise as they were before the wind came. In 
another case a house was turned upside down. Many houses were 
moved partially around and twisted out of shape. In some instances 
shingles were stripped from the roofs, as though done preparatory to 
re-shingling, leaving the roofs intact. The houses on Springfield 
street were utterly spoiled, even where the general outline of their 
shape remained. In illustration of the whirling motion of the wind, 
large and well-built houses were moved from their stone foundations, 
sometimes in the direction of the cyclone's course and frequently in 
the opposite direction. One house on Market street was moved from 
its foundation westerly, while another which was but a few rods distant 
was carried to the east. In numerous instances boards were seen 
lodged in trees. 

In one house, the wind caught up a lighted oil stove that stood on 



340 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 



.d bodies of Mrs. John Collins 
of Hannah Beatty, a. girl 



the floor and raised it to the ceiling as gently as a toy balloon would 
rise, and as carefully deposited it in the place from wiiich it was taken 
without injury. The wind struck the rear end of a wagon, turning it 
partly around, but the man who was riding in it whipped up his horse, 
and thus escaped injury. 

Michael Higgins, switch-tender at the Salem street railroad bridge, 
was blown with the switch-house more than one hundred and ten feet, 
and was found with his neck broken. From the ruins of her residence 
on Portland street were taken 
and her four-year old child, also the r 
often years. 

Mrs. Jeremiali O'Connell was extricated from the ruins of her home 
on Springfield street, in which she bad bgen crushed to death. Her 
daughter, Mamie, aged fourteen years, was also taken out of the ruins, 
her neck being broken and her body mangled. When the wind had 
abated, a bundle was found rolling down the street. It was at firat 
thought to consist of rags, but a few minutes later, cries issued from 
it, and an investigation revealed Mrs. O'Connell's baby girl. Her 
body was covered with dust and plastering, and had been but slightly 
injured. How the child came in that situation the wind only can tell. 

Mrs. Lizzie Holdeworth, who resided on Springfield street, was 
among those that narrowly escaped death. She was sitting in her house 
when she heard a crash, and then knew nothing more. When she came 
to her senses, she was lying in the ruins of her home, being fastened 
down by timbers between two stoves. A beam lay across her fore- 
head, and held her head down, her lower hmba being also pinioned. 
Her tongue was between her teeth, and it was impossible to move it. 
In this terrible situation, she could not call for help. She seemed to 
gain in strength, and at last heard the rescuing party chopping at the 
boards and timbers which held her down. As soon as she was taken 
from the ruins she again became insensible, but revived on the way , 
to the hospital, where she was made comfortable. 

Probably the most pathetic of several touching incidents of the I 
cyclone, is that concerning James Lyons' family, who resided o 
met street. Mrs. Lyons was in the yard when the terrible clouds ap- 
peared, and she nished into the house. Her husband was in a field 
a short distance away, and he immediately started for home. He 
came in sight of the house as the mighty wind lifted it bodily ftom its 



HISTORIC STORMS OF NEW ENGLAND. 34I 

foundations and ruthlessly tore it into fragments. He himself was 
forced to the ground, and when the wind abated he arose and hur- 
ried to the ruins of his home, among which with the assistance of 
some more fortunate neighbors he began a search for his family. As 
some heavy timbers in the front room were lifted, the remains of his 
wife were revealed with a beam lying across her forehead, which had 
probably caused her death. Mr. Lyons was almost frantic with grief, 
and was calmed by his friends with much difficulty. In a few mo- 
ments the muffled cries of an infant attracted their attention, and 
further search revealed a baby girl almost hidden and protected by 
her mother's body. Her arms were tightly clasped about the inani- 
mate form of the woman, and in piteous cries she lisped, "mamma, 
mamma," but the call received no answer. 

The cyclone either demolished or seriously injured seventy dwell- 
ings. Many families, of course, lost their homes, but it was in the 
warm season, and that made it easier to bear than if it had occurred 
in the winter. Most of these people were the owners of their houses, 
and the loss proved almost total as none of it was covered by fire insur- 
ance. The whole amount of damage was estimated at about one 
hundred and fifty thousand dollars. It is perhaps wonderful that of 
the large number of people who were in the path of the cyclone, only 
eight were killed. Fifty-one others were more or less hurt, and sev- 
eral of them afterward died from their injuries. 



^